Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Island Time

Sailing the seven seas in three masted carracks
Tradewinds bring gems from the south
Spices from the east and icy wind from the north
And the medieval west is where it all starts

Seven sails of different shapes
Squares, circles and triangles according to the wind
In the crow’s nest sitting high above
Stood the captain looking for the elusive shores of gold

A voyage across the great sea
Requires men of varying might
Some in body and some in mind
With the two, the captain starts the journey of life

Huddled in an inn across the harbor
Cobblestones reflecting the lantern’s light
Dark shadows discussed the journey ahead
Leaving their stables as brothers in arms

Setting foot on the shaking bridge
By the ebb and flow of the oceans tide
Sails unfurl to the sound of the king’s trumpet
Five score men share a narrow fate

Sailing by night and resting by day
Fair winds seem to be their lot
The night of the storm lay unforeseen
Merrymaking men celebrate under the starry sky

The bow dipped into the waves as bread in wine
A blessed journey neared an untimely end
Men and wood scattered at nature’s behest
Two men on a plank was all that was left

With an orange glow in the east, the waters cooled
Surrounded by water that one cannot drink
Like a dead man under a chest of gold
Eyes seeing gold that the arms cannot reach

By light of day, they lived in the darkness of mind
In the dark of night, they saw the light of hope
The wood plank talked to the waves of the sea
Keeping them dry till they saw land at last

Two men as different as body and mind
Stood united to quench their thirst
As sandy shores beckoned to deceive
Time stopped on an island alone

A sailor strong in body was the first to wake
Mindful of his brethren in a wistful sleep
Food for the body and dreams for the mind
Was all the treasures for the third of their lives

The sound of the waves numbed their minds
Mad elephants trampling a royal garden
And an ever alert deer as swift as wind
Is all that was seen with an inward gaze

Marking their time by the birth of the sun
Dreams of escape leaving with the death of the sun
Finally a forbidden mountain on the island beckoned
Protected by forests as dense as fur

Leaving the sounds of the ocean
They followed the buzzing of a mythical bee
Dreaming of honey, but missing the fragrance of heaven
Seeing clouds that could not be touched

A procession of ants led to a sugary trail
Beckoned by sound of lutes from heavenly skies
A once mighty body became little
As weak minds strengthened with steely resolve

Absorbed in sounds that had served their purpose
A journey up the mountain had begun
Going high above the clouds
A new silence prevailed

Burdens of the body became as light as joy
Flickering mind became the anchor of the soul
Brothers since birth, merged their bodies at last
With memory restored, is there such a thing as birth or death

-N Seshadri