Above me the
Tree Of No Grief
Is alive, it
Lives in all leaves.

Showers shade
On my face;
I’m at peace
By its grace.

Life breathes
Around me,
Cheerful, loud-
A great sea.

If I shall close
My weary eyes,
And, drowning out
The many cries,

Shall I hear,
Amid the chaos,
Thump, thump, thump.

Above the waging war outside-
Above drums and conchshells,
Above thrums of bowstrings and clashes of swords
Above the thuk-thuk-thuk-thuk of wooden hammer
Above thunders of tyrannical powers,
Above horses being slain and elephants crushing people and human beings crying crying for justice crying for freedom crying for their right to live,
Above crying crying crying,
Above cries of God, and cries of Truth,
Above anything and everything in this wide world,
His heart, beating. thump. thump. thump.

A lie, this shade, a torture, this comfort;
Not a laurel stands here, not one hyacinth sweet,
Surrounded I am, and yet all alone,
So full this place, yet empty still,
Its riches and rags, both I hate.
Out there, my lover fights for me
And many a stranger help,
While here I sit, my abode neat-

Agni and Som out there battling,
And Varun and Mithra in each other’s arms
And Mohini – She that is not Her
And He that is not Him,
And the Rudra that loved them both;
Split from His third eye down
Into a Man and a Woman,
And their son, born
Of Her and Him;
Of Hari and Har,
And brave Shikhandini, her quiver quivering-
Her bosom filled with fury red
And Bhagirath with his two mothers,
Strangers all, slaying and dying against
My three hundred and seventy-seven headed foe
For three long days,
To free me.

Thump thump thump
In the beating wings of my tweeting blue spy
Thump thump thump
In the thriving life in every leaf of this ancient Ashok
Thump thump thump
In the very air of this Garden of No Grief,
Thump thump thump,
Oh, I wish you would give up on me,
Thump thump thump
I wish you would cease your call
Thump thump thump
I wish my wretched eyes close forever,
Thump thump thump
I wish my heart freezes in its bone cage
Thump thump thump
Our brief love shall bring only grief
Thump thump thump
Let this Earth tear a new convulsion
And consume me whole,
For I’m as helpless as you
Against this treacherous love of ours.
Thump. Thump. Thump.

I have lifted the bows no man could touch.
I have held my own against monsters great
Armed with all but a Calamus blade.
I can lead armies and heal the land.
I can, and have before, but
Once had I crossed the invisible threshold
For what I knew was right-
That has caused all my plight.

And now, too scared;
I’m weakness.
My teeth unbared
Hence helpless,
I wait.

                                                      ~Prasanna Bachchhav

                                                       Malegaon, India

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