The Psalm of the Scarlet Gourd

A red overripe coccinia grandis
Stunningly beautiful amid its trellised tracery of ivy- like leaves
And two delicate white starry flowers
Is what I inevitably think of when your name is mentioned
Not a Rose

A little house build in one long line
Almost hidden among old mango trees
And shrubs of scarlet ixora
Which smelt temptingly of your nutritious concoctions
If the door opened at around mealtime

The grand days of your prime
Still spent doing things useful
The intellect polished and used
To verbalise the thoughts that lay in jumbled discussions
In ways that made them orderly
And then to turn your hand to sewing pristine habits
And old fashioned wimples

Your wise old eyes crinkling
As age began to overtake you
At the wry humorousness of it all-
Though no one was more sincere
Nor kept the light of faith
Shining stronger

Careful words
Careful thoughts
Careful deeds
And that sudden twinkle
When a succulent mango appeared
Or a luscious pie
Redolent of cloves and cinnamon
Nutmeg and mace

How sweet has been your passing
Through this world and out of it
You did let us know well in time
And gave us space to get over it
Too considerate to give us shocks
You moved further and further away
Gracefully and gratefully
While letting us hold your hands

His ring you wore upon your finger
His love lay safe within your deepest heart
He asked you to come and you went
At homecoming , one does not depart

Nothing more wonderful than the present moment
When one of your teachers who knew you not
Decides to step down and follow the well trodden path
The day after you make your way through it
Is it a mere coincidence ? It may be
Or it may be synchronicity at work
The heart loves magical mysteries .

Worms or fish
Earth or water
Fire and ashes
The Soul smiles
At what we mistake for the end

Let us not forget to dream
Of cobwebby white linen neatly sewn
Smelling of lavender
Or the way you wouldn’t waste even a scrap of orange peel
Rubbing it childlike on your face
And your soft wrinkled hands
That smelt of citrus and mildly scented Vaseline
You taught us comfort
Of many sorts in a harsh world
At no cost at all

  • or merely the cost
    Of a genuine smile
    A warm clasp of the hand
    A twinkle where a tear could have been

These dreams that the poorest can slip into
Perchance as sleep beckons
Whisper “ There’s no call
Ever , for goodbyes”
Parting is only for meeting again
And therefore both are sweet

Hush ! It’s the Butterfly Etude
Not the Flight of the Bumblebee
Brushing your eyelids with sleep
Honeyed . Heavenly .
A Psalm .
The Psalm of the Scarlet Gourd .

( ASA )


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