Athena’s Gift

Amidst the pinnates of leaves, every February
my laburnum sprouts dangling beads of yellow green buds.
Soon her pimply face takes on
a flawless golden complexion.
A glorious beauty, swathed in spangles
she ushers in spring before it’s due.
A gift of love, the nascent sapling
came to my hands long ago.
Fearing her clawing roots, I found her
a safe nook on the margins of my abode.
There she stands poised, lavish in looks!
Her slender branches stretch their necks
across the temple walls to offer prayers.
All through the month, to the last of March
her bewitching looks enamour the winds.
But come April! shattering all hopes
she stands denuded; bereft or exhausted?
My reluctant steps then pace up to the florist
for a measly bouquet, to adorn the cauldron,
brimming plenitude on a ‘Vishu’* dawn.
Annual rings wind days round and round
her trunk and my remaining years.
Uprooted one day from the material world
I might perch on her highest branch
and gently whisper – “Tardy through your
blossoming youth, my dear; drink in the
sap enjoying every sip; let not the wind
waft away your gifts when all look up to
you for a glittering ‘Vishu’, don’t ever
turn up a squandering spendthrift”.

  • Vishu marks the spring Equinox and celebrates an abundant harvest. It falls on the first of Medam of the Malayalam calendar.

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