By: Annapurna Sharma
MY HEART TRAPPED…
I mused –
my story was no different
from the one my grandma crooned
in my baby years,
about the Mantrik and his heart
trapped in a wee bird,
in a cage.
When I first saw her –
she made me proud
she was magnificent, great,
any more adjectives to describe her.
In the second year –
she appeared confident
the gleam in her eyes, the
radiance of her skin, the
richness of banter
characterized her spirit
and mine too.
I was expecting more in the third lap –
but she was aloof (with me)
a sense of losing her pervaded
she was there with me, but
was with others
I merely looked on, confused and
The fourth round never arrived
for I didn’t want it to
for I, by then, knew –
there would be no round at all,
to crush me.
I already knew –
I would lose her,
to the maze of the world.
My heart – trapped in the wee bird – got lost.
Every time I gaze at the firmament –
my eyes search for a green bird
amongst the white flocks,
my eyes search for the dazzling-est one
amongst the stars,
my eyes search for my little girl
among the full-grown women.
I presumed it was Chemistry
Molecules piling one over the other
Or was it Biology
Delta of nerves, soft pulses
Like some God
Yes, it was God, clothed in ice
Every year, since the time of my ancestors, my family trekked miles
Crossing pernicious streams, raucous wood lines
Snow threatening to barrel
Limbs scrunched in damp canvas
Haunting chilblains – red-purple veins
Yet they paid reverence
It was my century
Done was done, arbitrate I
It was differential calculus
Symbols changing from ochre to green
Probably green with envy
Mares or sires, I couldn’t identify
They were stationed like old times
Mildewed palanquins and tobacco-stained teeth
Quirkiness spilling over soiled turbans
It was for eons, the patent Godhead
Pleasing its devotees, non-stop
Divinity – cause and effect
Middle age disabled me
Then I saw it coming…
An unending flow of sin
Dark waters swallowing life
Winters was taught in History class
Surplus mangoes and maggots
Tall grasses ruing
Edges beginning to burn with the first ray of Sun
It wasn’t a massacre
Kipling’s red-flower came alive
My grandson is a cartographer
He deduced, we forgot to chart the universal route,
Nevertheless, we’d be safe
I saw it in my dreams –
My descendants swimming from room to room
From nation to nation
At times their tails and fins,
Notwithstanding the ocean currents
I was better off with my two legs and hands,
Vertical and horizontal visions
Where did I miss the equation?
Perhaps my grandma was right
Too much of greed ate me up
Like the apple pie eating its plate
I was making sure to understand, which was better
Between the two:
The Englishman’s proverb –
To have the cake and eat it too
Mahatma’s quote –
Earth provides for man’s need and not man’s greed…
Memories are like clouds
fleeting from cliff to cliff
filled with tears, salty and warm.
The first time I visited the cabin in the woods,
I was only five.
Papa showed me the northern lights,
like full formed stories –
red, green, blue, love, anger, envy…
Birch – Hemlock – Spruce
with snow-powdered faces, alpine expressions
rehearsing for the winter opera
wind precipitating choral, Mozart…
Snow on rooftops was white and opaque
I sensed it was rigid, soft rigidity,
like that of a kid’s tantrum.
I smelt warmth in Mama’s cardigan
relishing extra large cups of hot chocolate
and wandering tales of marshmallows.
What about the sledge rides?
Imaginary and fictional
I couldn’t break the rules of childhood innocence
I secretly filled Santa’s socks
with poetries and punctuations…
I am forty.
Broken promises, iced handshakes,
faded murmurs, carbon soles scattered like snow-dust,
sweaty Christmas tales…
Annapurna Sharma is a nutritionist by profession, but a writer at heart, her maiden book of poems, Melodic Melangewas awarded for excellence, 2019 (Pulitzer Books). Her poem was shortlisted for All India Poetry Competition, 2017 conducted by The Poetry Society of India. She is Deputy Chief Editor of Muse India (www.museindia.com) and writes the column Life & Literature. She curated a mega Feature ‘Love in the Pandemic’, exploring life in the Pandemic through articles, conversations, real life stories, poems, fictional stories and book reviews, with more than 50 writers and psychologists from different parts of India and the world, for the Dec 2020 issue of Muse India. Her works are forthcoming, or have appeared, in Westward Quarterly, The Punch Magazine, Mad Swirl, Spark, Destine Literare, Reader’s Digest, Women’s Era, Assam Tribune, Active Muse among others. Her creativity is a mix of sweet of Bengal and spice of Andhra, places where she was brought up and presently lives.