“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

As I cross the River of Life

The riverbank itself is portentous
Of the path ahead.
The squelchy, soggy soil
Sucks in my feet like a cavernous mouth
Of a carnivorous creature.
I am half – willing to be sucked in.

It can hardly be called a river.

Meandering listlessly through this barren land
It is more like a space between two high banks
Flat, with few mounds of debris and sand
Forlorn, looking woebegone
Like refugees weary, resting their limbs.

Ribbons of water run through this space
Shallow, scarcely to wet your toes.
I look around for signs of life –
At the farther side, I spot a bird.

Life! Life! Another one!
I find meaning for mine.

Gingerly, I test the water with my toes.
Lukewarm, indifferent,
It hardly cares who I am.
Beneath the fluid, I detect stones,
Slimy, slippery, smiling wryly.
I am careful.
Stepping on each, scrubbing the slime
Gripping, putting weight onto the foot,
I lift the other to step on the next.

The current is stronger now.
The potholes are deeper now.
I stumble, I sway, I stagger
Panicky, frantic, I look around wildly -
Whirlpools swirl,
Waters rise –
The vulture is nearer now-
He looks up at me with a benign smile
Feeding on the carcass of a man.

Beyond, the eyes of the riverbank glitter
In the cruel, shade-less sun.

***************** Balachandran, Trivandrum 16-11-2008

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