Mother - deep, deep, deep silence
No words would be good enough, no feelings equal
That little something that I stole and hid from you
When every morning, before school,
You put a little fragrance, some breeze,
A pinch of moonlight , a little flutter
Of peepal leaves frolicking with birds,
All of this, and a lot of sun, a straying sun.
And Its early rays trying to slink
You quickly plucked the slinking ray
Midair, and thrust it in my breast pocket
Here, right here, near my heart,
Here to stay as ages come and go
Queueing up and passing in front of thine eye
Stable,serene, silent, eternal.
In my breast and pocket still thrive
Fragrance of hands kneading flour
Memory of sweet savour of fresh milk
Under the cow who would yield
To none except you and her calf
And memory - memory perhaps, 'coz
You are not here this hour,
Not here for others to see.
For the rest,its as it used to be.
Mother, saviour of errant God against sin
Guarding Him against anger, pique, ego, arrogance
Worried for Him and His churlish ways,
Fearing eternal damnation and a Hell
For God whom she wants always
To love and worship and save.
(For her, no worship without love)
You protector of wayward skies, and a friend
Of clouds who sulk 'coz you haven't touched
Their feathery back
With the brush of moonlight which always dangled
From your swaying hand
Nor touched their moist eye ( so they seem to think)
With your little velvety back of hand
Or your silken glance of compassion
Which always melted the gaze of God
And His Will and His mighty stubborn stupidities
And this secret, mother, only you and I knew
That you wanted a God to worship
( for nothing else was above you)
But not He even. So you told Him
"Behave as a God is expected to"
And he behaved, just so
That you could love and worship a God.
This secret, mother, only you and I knew
Not even God , for frankly mother
When you were there, could there
Be another God? ( I know you won't agree.)
And above all,
Those two little words and a half
That always leapt up from your lap
Leapt always up,and then sat back ,
Or melted at your feet, those two words and a half
Wrapped in breeze,wrapped in shimmer
Or on winter nights
Folds upon folds of woollen moonlight
Compassion, forgiveness and affection
Ah ! the warmth that was being near you
Warmth without touch of your silent contented scarf
Which sat calmly on your hair
Or across your shoulders
Assured of serene immortality.
And here today, memories
Of cow and her tormentor calf she licked and loved
And loved as she licked , the careless brat.
Here even birds to whose ancestors you were a hope
And winds that would stray from the shrine
So they could touch your cheeks
Before for fear of God's wrath , they went their ways
Yet not too afraid to cheat on Him for a touch of your hair.
Here too, the moonlight, the breeze and the peepal tree
Poured in a cup and stirred for moon-shake
And here that calf licking playfully
Your cheek, and then watching quietly, curious
If you would be annoyed , but knowing too
That you would never be. This
And all the other things which I forgot
To receive from you and secure and keep for memory
Here today, memory ..perhaps memory, but so real.
Its generations gone by come to live again.
And a straying sun and a midday moon
All of it ,and a lot more-
An eyeful of the glimpses you alone had
Of God who dared not disagree
With your insistent love for everyone
Small and big, black or brown,
All of it and a little more
In my breast pocket, near my heart, here ,
And here, under the pocket, under a thick cloth, in my heart....
Here, a deep , deep, deep silence.

  • Harcharan Bains
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