Fables of The Self

Listening to the Echoes

Eyes dazzle from silvery reflections,
these mirrors of icicles.
They slowly melt in tears;
the drops hang for a while
and fall into abyss.

Echoes reverberate
from the stream down the ravine:
tick-pock, tick-pock.
Like light from the stars,
sound takes years to reach our ears.

Whose echoes am I listening to?
my own, or a father of my fathers
who wore feathers of nakedness?

I must be careful and listen;
they might have pronounced
an order, a message, a prayer...

Contrasting Dichotomies

The dichotomous leaf
held together by a thin vestige,
likewise between birth and death
spans my tumultuous life.
In the hope of finding the meaning
I snapped umbilical cord
from mother to self,
severed the bond with the spouse,
and in the process
inflicted sufferings on them
and agonies on me,
ah! the treacherous dichotomy.

The dichotomous mother-of-pearl
holding a grain in her halves and
suffering under the load of water
meditates in the depth of ocean,
and in the dark hours of silence
a pearl is born, of exquisite beauty;
ah! the wondrous dichotomy.

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I stand a foot away from the truth,
inside the mirror; not exactly afraid.
Senses draw me out
and I'm dragged with them
emptying myself in the process;
the truth is whisked away -

I close the gap - try to open the mirror;
hands meet but not of flesh,
cold glass interferes with the experience,
desirable and real.

You do not smile,
nor do we recognize each other,
communication retreats in wardrobes
where suits and saris hang face to face.

"Hello" and "Hi" are mere words;
compulsions for carrying out dead business;
too heavy is the load.
I must start loving myself again -
a sure way to love others,
including you, dear.

Sun-rays angle through the trees,
shadows lengthen to cover a far off hut;
three iron bars across a square window
divide the space into four parallels;
a hand tries to measure the distance,
the shadow is still to cross the point
to call it a night.

Long drive and eerie silence
increases the distance.
Rectangular tables and circular dishes
precipitate ball-room phobia.
Cluttering spoons and twisted forks
douse her appetite.
The door bangs and the noise
alerts the court;
verdict: Divorce granted.

all poems by c s shah