2 Poems by Sunil Sharma
The cascading moments, fragile,
In the cupped palms,
Before they evaporate finally
Fast and furious,
Under a searing harsh sun
Please, preserve them forever, in the dark recesses of a hyper-active mind, encased in a bloated body, and, this, dross world---
Where unseen, pick them out
One by one by their individual scents and smells and varied textures,
Some like dry lilacs,
Some like skinny rose petals stretched and hung out on the white background of your textbook of medicine,
Like fossils bleached out and thin,
In the burning desert-sun,
Scattered and buried under the shifting dunes.
And, some fresh and dripping with the morning dew-drops
Of a bitter Siberian winter of long ago,
And revive them all,
One by one in your mind---
Where past is still present and lingering,
---Like an obstinate kid refusing to move to a foster home---
As it was three decades ago,
Where romping childhood still beckons
Like a ruddy Eskimo baby all wrapped up in woolens,
Memories pop out from mind,
As baked brown crisp toasts from a toaster,
Shrinking the temporal distances
And dissolving time barriers fast.
Carve them delicately,
With your soft tapering hands
These fleeting moments,
Streaming down upon you,
Hold them, the precious ones,
And render them
Between the complete oblivion
Lies the labyrinth of memories
Of dim days and long summer nights,
It is a twilight zone where the tender hope and
The bitter past collide.
Once we have met in Auschwitz
Against a grey somber sky,
It was raining in the trenches
Where young you have finally died,
Tears were streaming down my hollow cheeks,
Mixing freely with the cold rain,
While the steel-helmeted German guard ignored us---
One dead, another human about to die.
It was living hell, over for some,
But a reality for others---
In brutal Guantanamo prison or burning Sarajevo,
Folks were unable to fight.
During our stay,
We have talked of the Prague spring and raining flowers in Athens
And the warmth of our Frankfurt homes
And that chatting had kept us alive in the surrounding brutalities.
I still see that tear-stained face
In Gaza and Kabul,
Mourning the death of a young son
By a bitter remnant of a thin father
Crying soundlessly to silent gods,
Standing in the trenches
In cold knee-deep swirling waters,
Amid rotting corpses and burning chambers.
A bomb in Tel Aviv
Wakes me up to the hungry wolf
I saw and stored in my labyrinth of mind,
That overtakes Goethe-reading and quoting
Men in uniform,
Decent liberal middle-class young men with families
In sun-kissed valleys
Makes them mass murderers of their own tribes.
The manufactured Other
Never is out of stock,
We talk of peace but
We raise charities but---
Forget to hug the
Orphans of these
Small and big wars---
We, the navigators of hate-filled minds.
Sunil Sharma is a college principal, freelance journalist, author and editor. Mumbai-based, he has published 19 books---solo and joint. His prose and poetry have appeared in many places in the world.