Wishing you all the best for this season! Take care and stay safe! Today, years later, this poem resonates with me because of what we are all going through, and who we have lost, and our resilience. The tone is hushed, but strong and fast, as we encourage the bird to fight to fly and to finally sleep after all its endeavours to survive. Just, as I imagine, like us all.
Sing little bird, fly overhead, rest in the trees’ wavering breeze.
Lift the curtain high at dawn let the flickering candles yawn.
Tall trees aglow, clouds full of snow, laden with light, sing black on white, snow flurry sneeze small feathers freeze.
Fly little bird lift up and fight, go little bird circle the light, sleep little bird, a peaceful goodnight.
Try little bird, lift your wings while you’re still singing soon the night will warm your dreaming.
Fly little bird reach for the night, go little bird, shy winter’s light.
Warm your body, melt the snow for the daylight crisp below.
Go little bird, sleep little bird, find the songs you sweetly sing, nestle there ’til winter’s still.
Go little bird, up to the night, fly little bird soundly tonight.
See the moon she’s smiling for you shivering stars their arms are open too,
so go little bird, fly little bird, high little bird, hush little bird,
soon will come the voices of the morn joyous little creature of our dawn.
Go little bird, fly little bird, sleep little bird, twilight is heard. Go little bird… go.
Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his favourite wife, Mumtaz. He longed to preserve the love that he had for her. With its creation, love, magnificence and memory has been preserved. I had the privilege of falling on the stairs inside that lead to the tombs proper on a visit – a treat from my dad while we were visiting family in India. The anniversary of his death and the reason for my blog is coming up, and I am taking a moment.
She wilted, and he slept for one year, fading like the blush of twilight – riches do not protect the human flesh or soul –
death permeates even our innermost love.
In his darkest dreams, grief struck at his aching bones and tortured sinews; the surrounds of a heart heavy from drought, until, he was woken with a vision to transform her death into beauty – as she was in life so she shall be in slumber.
‘No more tear drops on cheeks that pain compared to her touch, but across the naked sky, to prolong this innermost sorrow,
just the last one –
a gesture to sear my longing in this lonely, mournful place – the last cry will be affixed vapour laden with jewels and precious splendour to pierce the clouds saddened and heaving constantly as sorrow.
On the south bank, ribbons of the Yamuna river will stare at a true reflection of beauty created from your passing – it will remain a last kiss on the cheek from my final tear as it rolls through Agra.
Your splendour will ignite a restful place, and make magical this white opal – as opaque, as my grief and as magnificent as you my love, Mumtaz –
soon we will sleep until we can no longer, and we leave together through the ghosted marble of the Iwan.’
Words tremble and form on my lips. In the middle of nowhere, on an old, abandoned field’s icy, quiet calm – I can see those words as frosted air, palpable, almost real. Almost. The memory of ecstasy ripples vehemently in rifts, saying, ‘don’t let go – don’t let go of the moment, the tenderness and the journey that has begun – don’t let go of the time invested and the heart’s own life span,’ – I clap my mitts together hard. I need to hear another voice in the heavy, thick dullness of meaningless, inside this bitterly cold wilderness – an expansion of existence. Inside this perfect ring of O, caution and doubt is excluded by the wintry tourniquet and deep seated bleakness. Within this rink of fire, I have found a plan; idly scraped into the dense snow’s virgin white territory are thoughts and decision making – a bittersweet means to an end. I exhale and words reverberate – detached. Let loose, they do their own thing. I believe that trust is its own reward, and love is a consequence of that very airing – so, I let them breathe. My lips tremble from more words, although I can’t hear them, they spill and the cold lets them sit there. Sat on the snow, memories cosy up to them, of when tears made me choke and lies made me half blind – now they both thaw like a discarded ice lolly bleeding into the impacted prisms hidden in this pristine foundation. I rub my insulated woollen hand over the small pond’s glass to see a lifetime spent asking why amid my mind’s sighs to half answered questions and doubts, and painful bouts of inertia. I find a heavy rock, and listening only to the whispers between my thighs’ nylon energy, I smash it into a face in the ice – all of those things are finally released and surface through the shards of their confinement – roaming prisoners cut loose to set me free, to crawl out onto the debris. Wading knee deep I try to remember what was instilled in me; I was taught to swim and love, and trust in rewards, I was loved and I am loved, a consequence of not sinking – swim freely. The temperature plummets within, and still knee deep, I am caught in the ice of limbo like a reluctant, unbaptised infant who already knows its own mind. Today, it is not as simple; revisited once again, by dark clouds that come to smother me with their words – they take their place in the queue in this time lapse of a snowy day where whiter clouds come and go, but like my words they are seldom realised, and so I have to withdraw into a quiet blackness – the Narnia sheen of glistening reason is too bright, too stark, too vivid when shouts scream from it. The pool of unhurried water is a starkly black dilation – of a welcoming eye – the pupil inside this giant O. I fall into its gaze, and like yours it swallows me up.
Majestically, she strode to the edge of sun baked sand, like an hourglass held up by time, before she became still; her long legs equidistant
man lay heel to toe with a savage sun – humanity encrusted with parched earth, it had partially eaten him –
a dried out white dove clung to an exposed ribcage; a much needed perch for a wasted observer tired of flying, tired of singing, lost in his search for peace. Its feathers, etched from fine, dried clay – were fissure like veins devoid of faith – baked outside of death, badly in need of rest.
Her elongated shadow buried them both before she knelt on the earth for water to pour from dainty, silver rivulets that ran her body, which was smooth and flowing sand
he watched her rise, striking the sky with her cool, black silhouette but on the floor it lay outstretched – as an amber pool of honey; he placed in it his hand to taste her
immediately, he was quenched, fed. Arid skin of dust and clay fell away, as did the shell of the dove, which had replaced his heart – its wings shattered into a thousand pieces like baby soft powder dusting the gritty, sparkling floor
in the breeze, billowing white clouds conjured a magnificent topaz bird; its plumage was a thousand lights of peaceful nights held in its tail eyes of beautiful iridescence – tail eyes that had once glimpsed peace in a thousand colours: turquoise, ocean green and gold …
quill feathers wafted the zircon grains of the sand, writing new rules, posturing and reshaping –
beautiful but cruel foundations of peacock ore too brittle to walk on, created swank waves of peacock blues,
and it strutted till a thousand feathers fell on the sand rising once more as blood red poppies that poured in an avalanche from the gaping mouths of soldiers still inside tin helmets – grown men like babes still fighting inside their dreams
he tried to pick the wild flowers for her but barbed, razor wire snagged his crumbling fingers, and hidden behind those were children’s faces pressed against wire mesh on the shores of green, unpleasant lands lapped by oceans that gulped and gagged; force fed a rigorous diet of helplessness and hope each time sand was flipped inside the hourglass
he gripped her waist, but, his reflection caught on her glass bosom, it shattered her hourglass frame
she was released
a thousand more grains of sand flowed like the salt of his tears – sprinkling gently from a watering can’s wise rose to try to feed the presumption of green leaves between his toes
his flaking sinews were pulled to his chest; he wore a crude hole where the dove had nestled – dust stung his eyes and, his tattered hands rose, forming a bridge that the sun rode across to join him at his journey’s end
red jewel fish swam ahead of her in shoals of beating hearts – riders corralled the sand storm’s cloth approaching like a whirling dervish; her titian hair draped those black, almond desert eyes,
and their glinting sunlit flecks consumed time in their frenzy – she placed the convergence of jewel fish; a plump, red heart, within his rib cage,
she was a belly dancer for a while on the sand’s hypnotic gyrations prompting creatures with a spin of time to play music inside of their shells
her lips were kissed by one thousand butterflies, and her open palms let loose a chorus of titanium white doves; all of the notes to harmonise with man’s discord – all willing one more time to fly away in a relentless search for peace and to sing for another one thousand years –
time enough, she thought, before they’d need a place to rest
I say goodbye holding your hand, desperately searching for raw comfort, but from clay cold skin and defeated flesh, words will no longer form, nor draw me close. You hold a smile, and it squeezes my heart softly with a palpable sense of who I am and who we were. I think you have just found a dream inside of death, and see a vision higher than we, one rich in vitality for your journey or destiny – I don’t believe we are really saying goodbye, and so, sweet dreams, my love – stay far from errant shadows – so I can see you on the other side.
A flicker, a stare, fires the column, bled bare, by the pale yellow, violet flame as
its gliding wax grips and its rhythmic drip sets fast, and not unlike our game. The Slowness of time runs with our thoughts down this vine as I tease the quick with scorched fingers. And, as is your want, you navigate me, and like moths, we self destruct when we linger. A stolid breath of air soon releases our stares, and we flinch in the flame’s parting sigh; its sulphuric stench from the quickening wrench, reminds me of that stark light – as sleeping birds hum and a candlelit morn draws nigh.