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Inspirations - The Galleria



Poems by R Y Deshpande




Lakshmi went for her weekly purchases

To the village bazaar of Wednesday

Afternoon, to buy spinach and radish

And onions. The green mangoes sour-true

Were good for pickle; also for the drink;

They just started arriving from the grove

Owned by the village chief, genuine-hearted

Though stern at times in his duties. Strangely

There were honey-vendors too. Exquisite

Was the harmony of that little world

Given to fewer wants, proclaiming

“Simplicity is the soul of sweetness.”

The small afternoon stream carried the joy

Of the beast and the bird and the lush field

And the lyrical god. Nothing mattered

And the spirit of beauty lived in each house,

In the cowshed, in the nest, moon and stars.

The bazaar was abuzz in the main street

And the children in the merry-go-round seemed

To touch heaven. Surely, there were cartloads

That had come from the immortal mountain

In possibilities of virgin life.

But then these were tied with thick ropes of grief

And foreboding were experiences

At times, uncertainties vague like shadows

Flitting through the mist; here since long ago

Shadow-figures as in a shadow-box

Cast their spell on raw imagination

And Lakshmi took everything in her stride.

Her money pouch had some coins for the day

And her one concern was, like dreams worshipped

In the silence of the night, robust fate

Of the three boys she bore in swift passion,

Hoping in the breathful heart shall awake

Wisdom of native gods who indeed shape

The spirit in life’s calm nobility.

Chhaya Purusha

It was long ago I had decided

To go far, quite far from my griefless home

And disappear into the non-self

As if to live another life, take part

In an experiment of negation

Formulated in possibilities

Of the fearless spirit. I reached the end

Even as the day sank behind the hill.

Freedom I enjoyed, freedom not to be,

And farther and farther as I drifted

The voice of the firmament grew feebler

And then suddenly all ceased. No more hope

Breathed in the emptiness, the gulf swallowed

The gulf and vacant eyed through the city

Clamorous children followed me. The worst

Yet was in the country of ignorance

Where truth easily succumbed to falsehood.

Each grain of the farm’s yield was living death

Of time annulling the creation’s cause,

Laughing at God’s smile. Here the stars became

The worshippers of darkness and the wind

Blew southward carrying the malodour

Of putrefied flesh and mortality

Walked through the sinful twelfth aeon.

Into the long inauspicious night

Vanishes the wonder of silver moon,

And the soul turns into a dream-fiction,—

The omnipotent is its accomplice!

Is it that I have plunged into a sea

Of vast peace, like the joy that sinks deeper

And deeper to find its sorrowless source,

To fathom underneath the mystery

In creation’s silent will? Have drunk

The wild honey-flame to taste the anguish

Of a profounder delight? After all

There’s the presence of Vishnu everywhere.