Starry Starry Night
What I was and what I have become
I must read in you;
In those firefly words
That spangled your heart
To make a glowing nest.
I must trace , I must trace
How those words grew to birds
That roosted in throbbing silence
On the dull grey hairs
Of your sad breast
Then turned bright stars
To soar into the old sky.
So I walk the tightrope you stretch,
Swaying this way, that,
Seeking to read the answer
As fireflies blink their light;
On one side, the aviaries of silence
On the other, starry starry night.
Her wet palms strike each other.
The sky darkens at the sound.
Pinions beat, air whirrs,
The cocky ones arrive;
Wheeling lower, lower
Above the hunting ground.
Wings spread, they glide to land-
Grey, black, grey-black,
Young, old, middling -
Egos engorged like their rotund bodies.
She throws them words to feed on;
They peck and gulp;
Then eye her nubile self.
In vain she scans the sky
To glimpse the gift of him
from the empty blue.
Then, grown red-tongued, ten-armed,
Her gleaming weapons
The cry of birds rends the captive air.
* Pind Daan is a Hindu ritual for the dead whose souls are believed to inhabit the body of the crow. Cooked rice is offered to crows which are summoned by clapping hands.
Geetha Nair G. is the author of two collections of poetry -Shored Fragments and Drawing Flame.. Her most recent book is a collection of short stories - Wine, Woman and Wrong. Her work has been included in leading publications like The Journal of the Poetry Society(INDIA) and The Punch Magazine Anthology.
Geetha Nair G. was formerly Associate Professor of English. She lives in Trivandrum.