03 May, 2012

Tales of the River

One fine day, an old man was picking pebbles along the river,
Under the sun, he raised, examined and marveled at the sculpture of his find,
But in the throes of death, he withdrew his stones, watched the sky, took his turn.
Then came I running to catch this dilapidated and restless man.
He hung loosely beneath my arms, our eyes bursting at each other.
Wondering what he meant in what transpired –
Language so foreign and mysterious.

Across the other side, the sun props atop the mountaintop,
I turned my back to head us back (home),
“This is the side we belong to, you and me,”
The further we went the further we went astray – lost and stolen.
My heart had sunk as deep as a ship from a hundred years,
Time has ceased, has it not?
But wind kept blowing, birds kept singing, and the forest danced in confusion?

Our path was open and wide, though dark and covered with fallen leaves,
I looked to his frail and naked body one last time,
It’s been shivering cold under the deep forest shade,
And so I headed back to the riverbank in the east,
Where the light bickers through the plants and trees,
And pushes darkness to some faraway ending,
While overlooking all corporeal and living.

I set foot again on the scattered sediments by the riverbank,
And saw radiant daylight atop the mountaintop,
Laying its golden field throughout the river to the stones beneath my feet,
Gleaming fiercely against us without peeling a skin.
Then I dove into the overwhelming force of the river,
Sailing ‘cross it while carrying him behind my back,
Toward this gentle ball of flame resting in the same place it has always been.

As we reached the shore where only men of gold thrived,
And broached the river like a massive whale,
He resurrected and dismounted my then weakened body,
Walking toward the starlight it made him warm and dry,
Before him I knelt and pored over the fiery sands of the oasis,
And as he widened the gap between us two,
I raised my head to descry his blurring image and see him thru.

His silhouette was in the backdrop of a magnificent mirage,
Dissolving and absorbing him into its own immensity,
I woke by the riverbank and saw two cups of tea,
One’s been empty, the other turned cold and dry,
I remember the forest where we used to pick fruits from trees,
And boiled the kettle and had cups of tea,
Now I know why life is short and why we have a memory.