It begins before sunrise
As the night gently ebbs
I close my eyes to a waxing light
Letting my thoughts unfurl
Away to the sound of waking
and footsteps slapping
gently on tiled floors.
Too small to be wise
yet lost deep in thought
I hear them fading
beyond my door.
I hear the sounds of ware-selling,
the sound of songs being sung.
the sounds of spoken smiles
And the distant beating drums.
I hear a grimace in one’s remark.
I hear an embrace in another’s retort.
I hear a million parting words
Until daylight gathers into stars once more
I hear the bustling hums of a city
As thousands of souls awake
I hear the low rumble of traffic
And the sharp screech of bicycle brakes
I hear the grinding pounds of spices
And the sizzling splutter of fried oil
I hear the sounds of people like me
A medley of colors and cadence and life
In these moments of forced blindness
I remember the land
where I used to be.
Where silence was given, not demanded.
And there lived a choir of those truly free.
In my mind
I feel my footsteps ringing
In empty streets.
I hear my feet tapping amidst a thousand others
In the comfortable silence across the seas.
A place where warmth is etched in dusky skin
And loneliness can never be.
Where love is rampant in each exchange
And anything is a possibility.
My eyes quiver, closed
As the sun’s light shines.
Alighting the world in its ethereal glow
Fearing to open upon cold silence.
No sound, save for the distant caw of a crow.
A cacophony through my heart
As I hear the hum of those
The lilting of joy and soft reprimands
of clinking silverware and cooing doves.
I hear the sounds temple bells make
And the prayers that follow after
And lost amidst those deafening thoughts
I hear the sound
Of my own forsaken laughter.
There is a party beyond the edge of tomorrow
A place of wonder beside the shore
Where invitations specially made
And the guests are often quite the bore.
The decorations are a natural affair.
Wood and bone and crimson rain
Beside the moonlit Ganges’ shore
Music the sound of holy water
They come and gather, an eerie crowd.
Have conversations by the light of fire.
This party, its guests lack most
No hope nor pain, not even desire.
They march in a rhythm, sans-beat
Time lost beneath their rippled veil
Hand in hand, sinners and saints
Equal in their upheaval
People pile on each other, as the night passes on.
The dress code remains a pure white as
Women, children and men alike
Flock to the desolations, cleared of all dues.
I saw them once, between tears
I saw them dancing beside the shore
I saw their smiles, lacking laugher
Bodies writhing in massless horde.
Amidst the throng of outlanders I see
Draped in a shade brighter than white
His figure, stern and unrelenting
Heart of the cabal and final rites.
A wave of remorse is all I feel
As I long to whisper parting words.
Too far is he beyond my touch
My dissident screams left unheard.
And I saw him step up to the gatekeeper,
past the curtains of flames
I saw his eyes, pools of oblivion
As he joined in to make the exchange.
All around me, voices chanting,
Murmuring prayers for his fated journey
A million voices singing to the ashes
As he danced with partygoers, soundlessly
At this party there is no music.
Only the silence of an afterlife.
Memories and mortal remains
All lost within a pulsing sea of white.
Shraya is an engineering graduate who realized a little late that what she truly enjoys is communicating with people (and not machines!), whether through poetry or prose. Currently, she has been spending her days teaching English in Japan and exploring the people, the culture and the language.