Nature

In The Sundarbans

Poem

[Source – Pixabay]

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Tides rise to meet the sky

In the Sundarbans

As the sky dives frequently

To borrow some condiments

From its marshy islands

For making rain;

Often overdoing, then hitting

The Sundarbans

With cyclones and storms

Flooding itself, the sky

Meets the tides

In the Sundarbans.

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The Bengal Tiger
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

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Flora and fauna there

Love drama

And everyone’s a fan of the Bengal Tiger,

A method actor,

Its every move, meaningful.

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And us folks, we take our boats

And get busy earning a living or sightseeing

(Hands tied, backs bent, loans taken, empty stomachs

Populated, polluted, dripping blood, we work so hard to make a living)

When we can simply live,

Live simply, now, here and there

In the Sundarbans.

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[Source – Pixabay]


Read more about the Sundarbans and also, “Explore Rohan Chakravarty’s Ecologically Conscious Map Of The Sunderbans.”

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Watch these insightful short documentaries to understand the Sundarbans better –

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The Knight’s Missing But The Horse’s Here

Feature
“Here comes the horse and the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo.”
[Source – Pixabay]

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Nature’s furious, the clouds are anger-dancing, the trees are trembling, surrendering, oh trees you say, oh here the mighty mountains are kneeling, falling flat, many many streams erupting singing jingling hymns, begging for mercy, but the nature god has turned its back on us.

Charu, eight, hears the elders saying such things, quite animatedly, and she thinks of a solution immediately, “they should simply walk to the side where the nature god is looking… and talk.”

But now, here she rushes past them all, there she climbs the mud wall, then the tree, and then gets scolded by her mother. Ya-hoy! She lands splashing a puddle and there she runs away.

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When the rain stopped, all the children in the village came out to play, seeing this, all the frogs high jumped away, leaving the centre stage for them.

Not lamenting over the loss of time – most still couldn’t tell time, it didn’t exist from them – the kids were happy with this break; they didn’t miss the school walls, exercises, question-answers, fill in the blanks, class-tests or the teachers.

Books were all packed nicely, kept safely in the trunk, kept under the bed, in that room which the children rarely entered.

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But lo, what is that sound, oh, who is’t cometh this way? Charu stares at the turn, the fog lands quickly to add to this mystery.

Through the cracked, broken, muddy trail that was once a kacha road, that now rejected vehicular traffic bluntly, who dares to come to their village?

And then sauntered the Knight or so did Charu thought, but the Knight was missing, rather a humble yet dashing horse emerged when the fog folded itself up like opening curtains; treading carefully, neighing, the horse moved, making sure the trail didn’t deceive him.

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Charu, amazed, rushed-then-slowed-down, towards the horse, the village kids followed her.

“Look, the horse is carrying something”, said someone and Charu shouted, “oh, it is coming our way, it is coming our way.”

The horse neighed and the kids thought it smiled; they clapped but then became quiet.

Stopping right in front of the group, the horse said, “Kids, are you doing well?”, and then immediately shouted in excitement, “Yes-yes, for I welcome you to the horse library.”

Charu and her friends went round and round the horse, “these books”, “are they for us”, “picture books”, “oh, yes-yes kids”, “this one is about animals”, “hey, look the seven wonders of the world”, “see, told you Octopus has eight arms”, “and legs?”

The children sat around the horse, who asked them to read leisurely as he stood grazing the fresh green grass. And the children sat reading different books, some together, some by themselves, quietly travelling forward, backward in time and space, cherishing the moment.

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Some pack-full of hours later, the horse left, promising them to return in some days, hoping they would finish reading the books by then, colouring the black-white drawings, sharing each with the other.

He had also said, “and when I come back next, I will bring a fresh lot of readables… because kids, vegetables and readables are very good for health.”

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Charu, since then, has lived many lives, visited the world in eighty days, went on an expedition to the south pole, and also fought for reading and colouring the underwater world with her village friends.

Aunties with toddlers and cows, goats and dogs, and some oldies have also now joined their semi-circle party, offering them to gather in this or that courtyard if it is raining or is too cold or too windy outside.

They all remain, to this day, good members of the horse library.

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When the horse returned (Charu not missing the knight) with the new books (the readables), each book appeared to be shinning, announcing the arrival of the saviour, the hero, the magician, the joker, the pied piper and many others from all over the world.

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It is a beautiful bright day, at some good distance a sheet of clouds is slowly covering the sky, the semi-circle party has gathered again to read and narrate, the horse, happy and calm, stands nearby grazing and some folks, passing by, are talking about the nature.


This post is inspired by a real life fantastic story (that is still unfolding), read about it here –

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Uttarakhand: How The Horse Library Started To Promote Reading In Remote Villages

‘Ghoda library’ trots up to remote Uttarakhand villages with books for kids, parents to join in


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Temple Food

Short Coverage
From the temple, with love.
[Source – Pixabay]

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The monastery hidden up in the mountains, the waltzing foggy air, breathes and greets in delight, offering love and care and sometimes offering it through food, what people happily call the temple food. And the one who excels in doing so is a Buddhist nun, Jeong Kwan.

Her simple, soupy, soulful dishes – vegetarian and vegan – lightens and calms both the body and mind. Grown in the monastery’s garden, the vegetables live boisterously.

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After planting the seeds, I just watch them grow. They grow in snow, rain, wind and sunlight. When it’s hot they grow in heat. When it’s cold they grow in cold. I make food with these vegetables with a blissful mind. And I eat the vegetables with joy.

– Jeong Kwan

Ascetic yet communicating with everyone, delightfully going with the flow and living, simply, Jeong Kwan remembers her mother.

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When I felt the love of my mother, I wanted to become like her. I learned the mother’s way from my mother. Preparing a lot of food to share. As a monk, I try to practice such a mind, a mother’s mind. A monk is everyone’s mother, not just to a family, but to the whole community…

My mother granted me the opportunity to enter this temple. Even today, I thank her for her mercifulness and compassion for allowing my pursuit of the freedom.

– Jeong Kwan

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Her late parents, their memories don’t cripple or sadden her, it’s the endless pond of oneness through which she touches upon these few old glimpses. For she is one with all, one with her actions, her surroundings.

Walking, choosing the Buddha’s way, far away from the rush, close to nature, one feels transported. Jeong Kwan transports at will and doesn’t mind the bustling busy crowd at all.

I want to communicate with everyone through food, so I lecture at the Department of Culinary Arts at Jeonju University … I don’t consider my activities to be teaching. It’s communication.

– Jeong Kwan

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Soy sauce fermentation.
[Source – Pixabay]

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Here is what she has to say about soy sauce, excitedly she shares –

Every food is recreated by soy sauce. Soy beans, salt and water, in harmony, through time. It is the basis of seasonings, the foundation. There are sauces aged five years, ten years, aged for 100 years. These kind of soy sauces are passed down for generations, they are heirlooms. If you look into yourself, you see past, present and future. You see that time revolves endlessly….

By looking into myself I see my grandmother, my mother, the elders in the temple and me. As a result, by making soy sauce, I am reliving the wisdom of my ancestors, I am reliving them. It’s not important who or when. What is important is that I am doing it in the present.

– Jeong Kwan

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The Buddha’s way, the temple food, all mixed with a little bit of soy sauce, whether in throbbing loud city or a challenging quiet corner in the forest, is the recipe to make a humble, fulfilling meal that lets the vital life force within and without work peacefully.

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With food we can share and communicate our emotions. It’s the mindset of sharing that is really what you’re eating. There is no difference between cooking and pursuing Buddha’s way. It’s been almost half a century since I entered this way. I did it in pursuit of enlightenment. I am not a chef, I am a monk.

– Jeong Kwan

The blogger was inspired by the documentary series ‘Chef’s Table’ that is available on Netflix.

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Here’s the trailer –

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Meet Jeong Kwan –

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Eric Ripert, a renowned chef, visits the temple –

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Mushroomed – An Ode to the Fungi

Mushroomed mushrooms are talking!
[Source – Pixabay]

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Little umbrellas, soft buddies beaming in damp, dark sites

In the jungle, have more to say, they’re saying now

Through the wood wide web, the underground kites

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Fungi flies, less on whim, on purpose more, humble and old

Hyphen hyphae, thready threads, join the words spoken

By a baby plant and those tall giant trees old

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Together, symbiotic, altruistic, in harmony and love with growth

Of one and all; living, dying, killing like the Armillaria

Its dear host trees, devouring forests, sailing forth

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Layering layered humus, rich, fertile, full with nutrients timely

Rejuvenating the drunken dull poisonous air

Feeding on persistent toxins, stubborn plastic finely

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Breaking, storing carbon in the soil, toiling freely, fungi

And friends mineralise earth, unburdening it quietly

“Decomposing since one billion years“, said fossils of fungi

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Its fruits – mushrooms – mushroom pleasantly,

Well aware of the change hitting the planet

And the mighty meets, sees the ground, underground naturally

There the mycelia run, binding all in one

Showing, nicely, what is to be done.

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Oyster mushroom mycelium growing in a petri dish on coffee grounds.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

Fungi marched onto land more than a billion years ago. Many fungi partnered with plants, which largely lacked these digestive juices. Mycologists believe that this alliance allowed plants to inhabit land around 700 million years ago. Many millions of years later, one evolutionary branch of fungi led to the development of animals.

― Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

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A group of elongated cells (hyphae) from the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

I see the mycelium as the Earth’s natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape.

― Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Watch these short clips and be amazed –

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Read more about our – neither plants nor animals – friends, the fungi –

A Billion-Year-Old Fungus May Hold Clues to Life’s Arrival on Land

The Untapped Potential of the Amazon’s Plastic-Eating Mushroom

Soil Carbon Sequestration and its Relationship with Climate Change

Benefits of Fungi for the Environment and Humans


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Weather Forecast Says Listen to George Ezra

Coverage
[Created by Jagriti Rumi; Source – Wikipedia]

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Relationship with the world grows like grass and creepers; growing in every direction like the grass, growing criss-cross network like the creepers. The very many we don’t know, the very few we do, together shape our lives.

Meeting not the grass patch across the road, I stay happy/unhappy with my rocks, my stones, my pals, my weeds.

And in a shrinking world – our one big grass field, our one small landmass in the world of oceans upon oceans – the seasons may change, but the weather remains the same, it is the weather to form relationships, this weather is here to stay.

Hatred and discomfort in a relationship doesn’t require much effort, it easily springs to life, nurturing illusions in separation, measuring neatly, dividing by all, leaving the remains in decimals.

Compassion, love in a relationship is all that there is to it.

Then doing a chore becomes something more, like wild grass covering and fostering the soil exuberantly, turning into meadows, savannas, prairies, pastures, it grows, not knowing the difference it grows.


Moon loves the grass and listening to George Ezra.
[Source – Pixabay]

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The weather remains the same, it is the weather to form relationships, this weather is here to stay, that is why probably the weather forecast says, ‘Listen to George Ezra’.

His songs are about forming relationships – with friends, family, the beloved, the city, the village, Tiger Lily, the oldies goldies, heaven, hell, middle earth, nature, you and me and them all.

In baritone voice, his songs narrate a story of relations without conclusions so that you can freely listen and freely walk on the grass field.

His songs share secret messages that you get before you know you did.

Without an end, like a creeper stretching its hand, meeting a tree or a forest floor, the song meets you, takes you along.

Ezra’s songs speak not about ‘eventually’, for there is no ‘eventually’, but only the now, the present, this instant, not what is fleeting, nothing is, for you’re fleeting along.

Hold on, hold on dear world for we are moving together, divided we fall, we have fallen, fallen on the green grass that if we see, observe, will share a thing or two about relations.


This weather forecast won’t fail you, rather it’ll nudge you lovingly to make do, see through and say Take Two today.

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Monday Budapest

TuesdayAnyone For You (Tiger Lily)

Wednesday Listen to the Man

Thursday – Fell In Love At The End of The World

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FridayParadise

SaturdayCassy O & Green Green Grass

Sunday Shotgun

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Twisted, quirky and stubborn relationships, at times, may overpower, confuse, ridicule you, don’t give up then, but take this antidote; first get drenched in rain and thunder, be with the darkness inside, then simply ‘blame it on me’, only to switch to a soothing greenery, back to nature for a while.

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Why Day – Did You Hear The Rain?

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Eh Day – Blame it on me

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Any Day – Barcelona


Weather forecast ‘ifs’ –

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If you want a clear sky and the day to be bright and sunny or if it is too hot and you want a happy tiny cloud to follow you for shade then listen to George Ezra’s Morning Song.

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Not Lithic

POEM

The universe’s engine runs on love.
[Image from Pixabay]

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Its nature is not lithic,

Not etched,

You cannot run your fingers over it,

Malleable and foldable for some,

Yelling, “Come, come,

Buy a packet full of love…”

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From the absolute beginning

Love, not lithic in nature,

Etched if anywhere, then in atoms;

Ride like the wind to feel it;

A malleable, foldable sweet memory

For all those who fall

In love, just like in the absolute beginning.

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Together We Enjoy Enjaami

Prose Poem

Kindly listen to the track before you start reading.

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Unabashedly bold and free, vivacious and ebullient, adamant like the silent stone, transforming every micro-second, Nature rules… and the ones living close to it celebrate and sing, enjaaee enjaami

Flowers shining bright, the rich yellow, orange, mahogany, red and white, the bugs, caterpillars and flies, the upside-down dancing struggling beetles, the sun-soaked green leaves, together – even when captured in a glorious painting – sing enjaaee enjaami…

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Rich yellow… shining bright.
[Image by AdelinaZw from Pixabay]

Whose is this land, this divided piece, this circled boundary, that 12 acres, that mango orchid, that dry-wet soil, that cool-cool well, that fragrance casting spell… certainly it doesn’t belong to the ones who toil round-the-clock and sing, enjaaee enjaami…

Festivities when unearthed by bare hands, the swaying harvest and booming lives of the lords, shacky mud-roofed huts full of laughs and cries… all sing enjaaee enjaami…

Grandmas and old voices together have knitted the folktales, passing it with pickles and homemade sweets, carrying it closer than a life lesson, breathing it day and night, walking and singing enjaaee enjaami…

Like a tree, like a giant tree, full of flowers, then fruits and seeds, then sweat and blood, patiently bowing, accepting it all… walks an old bent figure, bare feet, singing enjaaee enjaami…

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Turn around, don’t flee…
[Image by Couleur from Pixabay]

Jackals, parrots, elephants, reptiles, dogs, cats, butterflies… give their share back, turn around, don’t flee… those sitting on margins know Noah and the King, then who will ultimately sink? I sing enjaaee enjaami…

The fiery soul that burns itself, weeding the flower bed and burning the dead, it runs the life, it spins the earth, decorating the darkness, breathing lightly it sings enjaaee enjaami…

So how can you forget, threaten, betray, walk astray…? Come, not in repentance but acceptance for then your blinded eyes will see the majestic drama, lament if you must, cry and shed it before you sing enjaaee enjaamee…

So listen, listen to the storyteller, the old voice-heart beats well, this beat matches your beat and look, your mind watches you sing enjaaee enjaami…


Enjoy/ Enjaaee (my dear mother/ dear lady) Enjaami (my feudal lord, master) Vango Vango Onnagi (come together to reap the bounty of nature).

This wonderfully powerful Tamil song is sung by Dhee and rapper Arivu (who has also written it); the song revolves around Tamil migrants (and labourers and all our ancestors) who toiled on lands but always remained landless and suffered due to poverty; the song emphasises on how the earth, the nature is for all living beings and not for the wealthy class/ caste.

This thought-provoking, globally popular number, asks us blatantly to check if we are hurrying in the right direction.


Decode Enjoy Enjaami, read these articles –

What Arivu’s Enjoy Enjaami Tells Us About the Cultural Resistance to Caste

Enjoy Enjaami a tribute to Tamil plantation labour

Enjoy Enjaami – A welcome start, say Sri Lanka’s Malaiyaha Tamils

Enjoy Enjaami: Deconstructing the Politics Behind Arivu and Dhee’s Latest


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Nature

Green magic!
Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay.

Wondrous are the ways of Nature

Capturing, hiding the sun in a leaf,

Revealing it in a colourful belief,

Fruits of absolute joy, a treasure.

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Giving life to all lives,

Giving shelter to all tribes,

The Nature plays a rhythm divine,

Transforming the woods into a shrine.

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Nature destroys the apathetic traders;

Blind, unforgiving, hitting with catastrophes,

Listening not to the heavens, the creators,

But to the Time that heals.

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A dense forest or a tiny plant,

Both are Nature’s marvel;

Her ethereal hands are the mantle

That blesses our lonely planet.

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Sublime nature!
Image by David Mark from Pixabay.

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Fetching Water from a Haiku-Well

This light and bright book, ‘Japan Haiku by Marti’, is a library to me that has a collection of thoughts, wise words of a wise heart.

Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry that is dated back to the 17th century, is a fruit that a poet bears in her mind. It tastes subtly sweet and brazenly true. (Truth tastes different to all people, what does truth taste like to you?)

Carrying oceans and mountains and all the seasons within, it takes me on a journey every time I visit it.

Shying away from nothing, neither life nor death, haikus sing about nature and dance in the present. They capture it fully, through the lives of those who craft it, the haikus capture the moment fully.

No less than an explorer or a monk who practices meditation, the haiku poets in ancient Japan travelled to witness the peaceful, dramatic, kind, unforgiving nature. They did not hurry and that is why could understand it all.

Fetching cold water from a deep quiet well, with wit and brevity, the haikus quench our thirsts in this manner.

I finished reading this delightful book (part of my Auroville collection) sometime back, but I knew the journey has not ended yet.

Earlier I had taken a haiku turn to meet Matsuo Basho, the master haiku poet, and today I found a hidden haiku trail that took me to visit Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali polymath.

“They reveal the control over the human emotions. However, they are never short on aesthetic sensibility. Their sense of aesthetics is marked by deep appreciation yet there is a mastery over expression.”In Letters from Japan, published later as Japan Jatri, Tagore recorded his views on haikus and his experiences of visiting Japan.

Interested in reading Japanese literature, knowing their culture and art history, Tagore in 1915 wrote to Kimura Nikki, who had studied Bengali under him at Calcutta University, “I want to know Japan in the outward manifestation of its modern life and in the spirit of its traditional past. I also want to follow up on the traces of ancient India in your civilization and have some idea of your literature if possible.”

Knockings at My Heart is a collection of short poems by Tagore (discovered only recently and published in 2016) that highlights the impact of haikus on him.

Excerpts –

Let my life accept the risk of its

Sails and not merely the security

Of its anchor.

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The pomegranate bud hidden behind her veil

Will burst into passionate flower

When I am away.

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The mist tries

To capture the morning

In a foolish persistence.

The simplistic approach, depth of thought and brisk climactic acuity make this poetry form of the past very much of the present as well as of the future, for the passionate are always searching.

And so my journey continues.

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Glowing like a firefly.
Image from Pixabay.

Fireflies, an epigrammatic poem by Rabindranath Tagore, is a perfect complement to this post.

My fancies are fireflies, —

Specks of living light

twinkling in the dark.

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he voice of wayside pansies,

that do not attract the careless glance,

murmurs in these desultory lines.

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In the drowsy dark caves of the mind

dreams build their nest with fragments

dropped from day’s caravan.

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Spring scatters the petals of flowers

that are not for the fruits of the future,

but for the moment’s whim.

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Joy freed from the bond of earth’s slumber

rushes into numberless leaves,

and dances in the air for a day.

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Read the full poem here.


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Firdaus

Agar Firdaus bar ru-ye zamin ast, 
Hamin ast o hamin ast o hamin ast

Translation – If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.

This Persian phrase written in reference to Jammu and Kashmir, India, is attributed to the great Sufi musician and poet, Amir Khusrow.

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Nature painted in full lustre
The hues of love
It is peace above
It is peace beneath
And the Dal Lake, a mirror
Chinar leaves, fallen ones,
A paint brush’s twists
Chirping, joyous children
On the footsteps of a temple
Now stand quietly somewhere hidden
Sharpness of bullets are measured
By dripping bright red blood
The aura of a single truth
And the nature’s imprint,
Will engulf it all at the end
And the Paradise will rise then.

Oceanic Waves by Cody Hooper https://www.codyhooperart.com/