- The Galleria
Poems by R Y Deshpande
I’m pretty familiar with matter
That day after day works invisibly
In the sky. I’ve known galaxies storming
Through emptiness; swiftly they seem to move
Far into the unknown. There space folds up
And turns into countless forms which acquire
Meaning and sense, even desires. Objects
Packed with itsy-bitsy longings support
The spark holding in its breast a huge fire.
Incurving faggots feed its intense joy
And in a sudden radio outburst
The great mystery gets unsealed. Two lobes
Spin around a gravitational stick
And we know the powerhouse built up there,
Not at the beginning but in due course
Of the expanding time. Numberless suns
Waltz in stupendous display of the urge
That labours silently on the beach
And in the clouds; in the mind of man too.
The waves leap up and a million planktons
Glimmer on the shore. Now no tide can wrest
The cry of happiness from them, no hand
Push back the surge of civilization.
In its delight death too joins painless life.
Once quite long ago someone sat alone
On a peak and willed in his tranquil poise
Destruction of the past. A wooden horse
Walked through the gates of history and saw
The dawning of perfection’s art in line
And shape, and reason. The market place buzzed
With ideas archetypal, bright-winged,
Born in reality’s prompt widenesses.
Then in another passionate cycle
Came love, followed by murdering spirit
Of dubious faith. Now a gold star shines
In truth’s everlastingness on earth.
In my ancestral farm is an idol
Of Shiva filled with yogic calm, as if
Out of the unbuilt centuries had come
The spirit of time. Tall, invincible,
Massive in granite strength like a vision
It stands, intimate and esoteric
In the dimnesses holding a crescent
As their occult charge. A ring of low hills
In their serenity surrounds the place
And when the southwesterly blows it brings
Great rains. Sometimes as the night gathers storm
Infirm faith gets shaken; the deep furrows
Tremble and the trees bend in fear of rage
Let loose by the elements of nature.
Sometimes a pilgrim train arrives in slow
Haste at the temple town and the god-chant
Becomes louder in the resonant sky.
At other times is seen a plane breaking
Sound-barrier as though virginity
Ran faster than motherhood and gave birth
To Parthenon. The blitzkrieg of Hitler
Or the rape of Iraq came to nothing
And prone lay anaesthetised creature hearts.
He watched the come and go of each event
Not indifferently but in grandeur
Of his Aryanhood, noble, straightforward
Upright, mystic. What I saw dazzled my eyes,
A dream awake to such a certainty
That at once I would paint on a canvas
Magic of its hues, flowing resplendence
Of its joy. I would build a whole new world
And lay gardens in acres of fertile
Moods upturned to the sun. His tapas-will
Has entered the mountain call; austere
In its look wideness is his famed spirit
Supporting the work of cosmic forces.