By: Srinivas S
Lo Behold! Here are the flying leaves!
Gold-bare, orphaned from their homes;
Crinkled in complexion, torn as uncouth;
Against the most wan of waning skies,
Little to life ladled by the sparest wind,
Here they come; for dear life, they come!
Woe-betide! Here are the flying leaves!
Stripped of strength by scudding seasons,
Smudged at edges by testy pens out of help,
Through the afternoon and beyond grey twilights;
Borrowing an image from slow hazy days,
Till death assails’em aground, they come!
Oh listen! Here are the flying leaves!
The rustling speaks of rust beyond redemption;
The fading lines limn daylights fading forever;
And thro’ layers of stifling mist and lights,
Seeking an absent voice in the still of night,
Like anachronisms in search of Art, they come!
Shut everything! Here are the flying leaves!
Seeking a fertile stay beyond ended lease;
Longing to be inserted into a poetic puzzle;
Amidst butterflies, moths and anonymous sightings,
For a first and final stand within a torrid heart,
Like refugees from a breaking land, they come!
Breathe less! Here are the flying leaves!
Withering exudes strong smells at decay’s touch,
Like odd lines abruptly perfumed to oration;
But braving the spread of womb-like precaution,
To offer themselves, for love or hate, once more;
They come, without a will to fight, they come!
Hell’s loose! Here are the flying leaves!
Naked skin has supplanted the soul,
Even as towards a lyre wavering brings madness;
Yet unmindful of worlds that have moved on,
Like no one’s guest but everyone’s scarecrow,
As time’s most brutal experiments, they come!
Touch naught! Here are the flying leaves!
The forsaken midrib’s ghost even a swan dresses
And whites wasted wear failure’s watermarks;
As from vales up and mountains down,
Fleeing friction and floating beyond gravity,
Still not touching clouds, untouchable they come!
Rains of history! Here are the flying leaves!
Soiled they are over landward dimensions,
And they shun all save the hues of seas and skies;
Humbled, then, by the freedom from all they’ve borne,
Still not losing their hold on the caprice of choice,
Like malcontent dreams o’er sleep, they come!
Toast not yet! Here are the flying leaves!
Their blandness even the seeing dewdrop devours
And scrap-laden, the water tastes stale as existence;
But risking their last hours, wrung by their wretchedness,
Just once more — dissolved everywhere in despair
To await their wedding to ground — they come!
Drink to them! Here the flying leaves rest
Once green, then gold and brown, now as their land;
Once as blue eyes, silver voice, now mute thro’ sands!
The offending page with the autumn leaf is mortality,
Enacted by the unsaid, seen and unheard!
And here they come, like sleep, like death itself!
Restraint is as if it is not.
The sign of strain is tucked away.
The syllables skipped retain a voice.
A breeze contains the seething storm.
Restraint is as if it may be.
The dead bat doles intent a face.
The waiting fathom their time by tides.
A flame (with)holds a furious blaze.
Restraint is as if it will be.
The clinging drops tend slivers of dreams.
A path sans roads betokens home.
The sun, too, opens from a star.
Restraint is as if it once was.
The pines uphold, sans hold, All love.
Our hymns and requiems hug the Night.
A mirrored moment is mem’ry: …
Restraint is as if it is Naught.
The backstage sweat meets the rain.
A tune is born, and silence fades.
There are the dead; and there is death.
Srinivas S teaches English at the SSN College of Engineering.