Coriander

The first thought was to sow some coriander seeds
Then fenugreek and spinach
But the compulsions of the seasons intervened
And the matter was settled on some green chilli plants
Some okra and a few creepers of courgettes
To climb the backyard wall
behind the guava trees
The neighbour’s jamuns , though sweet
Cast too oppressive a shadow over the little yard
The branches had to be ruthlessly trimmed.
Listening to the sing – song voice of the eastern gardner
Brought back memories of times spent
In an even more distant land
A stab of pain
A band of suffocating tightness around the chest
That took the breath away
It was not nostalgia : it was something far more physical and ominous
And it gave no time to think
Death had been stalking the garden planner for long
Was this its time ? Stillness ,
And a faint scent of green coriander
Hung in the mid- morning air .

It was a sunny day in March
And a cool breeze blew from the mountains
Colouring the sky bluer
Now more than ever seems it rich to live
The curry- leaf bush smiled in a daydream
Redolent of pale mauve , white and lacy
crushed coriander flowers .

Far away , a man had once been heard singing :
“ Kaniya, du go dhaniya de de “:
“ Maiden , won’t you spare me two stalks of coriander ? “
The coriander song can never be forgotten .

( Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia )

4 thoughts on “Coriander

  1. Pushmaotee Subrun

    The curry- leaf bush smiled in a daydream
    Redolent of pale mauve , white and lacy
    crushed coriander flowers … the poem is so beautifully crafted that the fragrance from the coriander plant appeals to the sense of smell…

    Reply

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