Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Song Of The Kingbird

A dying wish stayed alive

Faintest of memories in secret chambers
The valley of kings but a temporary abode
For a truth that lasts an eternal time

A mournful dove whispered to the wind
Within the golden egg lays the truth
Then came the mockingbird’s cry
Under a forested land lies the hoard

Hearing this ruby eyed kingbird flew home to roost
A royal bird in name and form
Finding seeds of doubt in its gilded cage
Unsure if its king possessed the golden egg

The majestic kingbird had the ruler’s ear
In an illuminated palace full of life
Guarded by nine doors and walls of gold
The king of the birds called this home

In the great hall open to common folk
Two welcoming golden eyes invited one and all
To the restless beats of hummingbirds
The truth remained lost in flight

The king of the birds was never seen by light of day
Owls fearless as tigers would be a more common sight
Every night as the nine doors of the palace closed
The king was stirred by flickering memories of past

The rich treasury kept the birds well fed
A distant benefactor the king remained
The satiated kingbird felt something amiss
Mustering courage to mention the golden egg

The patient king was happy at last
One of his flock had the courage to pass
A life of leisure that time would wash
Grains of sand that would turn to dust

To the drum beat of the woodpecker’ call
A dark passage under the palace was found
Wilting flowers of yellow and gold
Sprang to life on seeing them both

A valley of flowers from another world
In the quiet of the night it seemed like home
One way in and no way out
A beautiful trail egged them on

Leaving the royal purse behind in another land
The king and the kingbird took in all they saw
Every turn presented a world anew
But the elusive egg was all they sought

Under a canopy of trees hidden from view
A sea of pearls was seen as they journeyed on
Having heard it in the mockingbird’s cries
The weary travelers had a clue at last

A golden goose would seem easy to see
In a land so enchanting
The gods would envy
Luck ran out as the days went past

As the emperor penguin kept its young so warm
Winter made them fan embers of desire
Spring awaited those who passed this test
A river of nectar would be a just reward

Quenching their thirst they soldiered on
To a vast lake of heavenly blue
The golden sun dipped out of sight
In the dead of night they found the egg at last

Listening to the tune of the thrasher’s song
They hid the egg as the blue jay kept guard
After months and years, finally looking like gold
What bird could possibly lay under this golden shell

A yellow swan then left its nest
Promising an end to the eternal quest
The golden egg is all it sought
Rewarding the bearer bliss without bound

-N Seshadri