Now The World Is Green And Cool

and parrots look so beautiful

flying in a formation of six to eight

and their half-toot half-screech

is so exciting to hear

and how they look

like helicopters

turning into the trees

and yesterday evening

I saw such a beautiful bird

fly slowly in the forest

it was big and orange black

against the deep green trees

and the mountains

and the blue sky above

with those big white clouds

moving like they do here

in Kumily and recently

in Claus Garden I saw

a really gorgeous butterfly

black at the edges yellow inside

flit about like magic

and then we saw

two giant Malabar squirrels together

Claus Omana and I

we were sitting on the bench

in the garden

and one was smaller than the other

but both looked fabulous together

and Claus took some pictures

of them

and from my terrace

when I look at 10th Mile Road

in the far distance

it is a painting in mist

its hazy-coloured blue mountain ridges

flowing like a mirage in the sky

and the head of the hill behind me

in the Periyar Tiger Reserve

that has been watching everything

for so many hundreds of years

is still entranced by all

that it sees

and I keep looking at it

at its deep in trance

old brown head

and to my utter surprise

it asks me isn’t it beautiful?

This Cold Day

has frozen my thoughts

while I look at this boy

from the neighbourhood

run up and down the street

happily singing in Tamil

and that makes me smile

freeing my locked mind

soon the rain begins to fall

and it strangely sounds like words

while from my head emerges birds

winging and singing in glee

and the rain tells me

see how I set you free

and I sing thank you

for liberating me

and then the birds

and the words

merge into one

and suddenly I realise

it’s so much fun

when the rain stops

and out comes the sun

and still the words flow

as the breezes blow

and still the music plays

in the sun’s rays.

The Mad World

is shaking with rage

and dogs howl till

the birds begin to weep

how can I sleep

here is my damaged brain

you may keep

and today the sun

is rolling at high speed

across the skies

and I follow

it with my eyes

till they get stuck

and begin to water

while the sun bursts

out of the sky into fire

and it feels like being lashed

with scalding wire

and now that I can barely see

I think I have been crushed

by a falling tree

and then I feel the ground breaking

and my broken burning body quaking

then the roaring horror

of my eardrums bursting

when the earth opens up

with a shuddering  yawn

and I am sucked into it

till I’m finally gone.

Two Pink Roses

so pretty have bloomed

on my rose plant

three small birds fly

and perch on a tree

and in the morning

it rained quite heavily

here in Kumily

while now the sun shines

and one part of the sky behind me

is so blue I can’t tell you

how beautiful it is

you have to see it

and the Periyar Tiger Reserve

is there behind the trees

its oddly protruding brown mountaintop

visible through the leaves

and the birds chirp

and the cock crows and the sunlight

is now dancing in happiness

in the silence that is caressing

your mind and that is what gives

the green mountains here

that appearance of weightlessness

and the birds continue

to remind you of it

and your heart is filled

with that knowledge

and brimming over in joy

the sun is now honey

and you wish you had

some bread to eat it with

and then you see the world

is your lover to sleep with

and then everything

suddenly makes sense

the language of the birds

is written on your tongue

and the air contains life

free for everyone

and it is magic that we are made of

is what it whispers

and the more you breathe

as the moments pass

you understand everything

every beat of your heart

every moment of the mind

you have lived

you hold in your hands

feeling their weight

before you finally set them free.

And The World Once Again

has collided with me

as I walk on the road

and has left me in

broken pieces of sunlight

my mind is in crumbs only

why has this happened

how did this ordinary day

turn so violent so weird

and I hear only voices

some pleading

some of complaint

and my defences

have been breached

and I have been

decimated by a force

I don’t really understand

my body blown to parts

my mind smashed to salad

my tongue though

will not be silenced

my bleeding eyes

can still see

you see this hasn’t killed me

and now it is the birds

that put me together

their sweet voices

mesmerise me

as I slowly become

whole again

and find myself

sitting here in my chair

writing this

my body once again my own

and my mind

once again my messenger

and I find the

whole thing so strange

from utter destruction

to this calm and I see

my mind working so well

with such power and sharpness

I am overjoyed to hear

my neighbour say thank you to someone

because I feel the same way too

now that I’m finally no more blue

and I wish the same for you.

Now The Flowers Were Swaying

in the wind and saying hello

in yellow orange and red

and like a man I walked

along the corridor without

realising I was an apparition

and everywhere there

were squares and I was

puzzled where I was

I was so disoriented

I did not know

myself at all

but the plants hung

so beautifully in their pots

restored my balance

my mind to myself

and then I was so happy

to see those birds

coloured so differently

purple blue and pink

unlike their real colours

and bigger than usual

amidst those gorgeous

green leaves and then

suddenly the room exploded

with wild talk and countries

were condemned and entire ages

were brought to life

I loved the magic

and in my mind

were the endless gardens

of paradise through which

breeze was blowing

and there were

swirling colours of such beauty

I had never

seen before and there

was this big round

window of glass

and long green leaves

everywhere I looked

and then

I went up and down

the staircase

I went through that big

square room

and returned

down the red staircase

once again and the whole

century passed between

all that time and now

so many countries

became independent

so many wars were fought

so many people died

so many people were born

and the greenery stood

in reverence

it understood

in silence

the weight of the moment

and I cannot tell you

how relieved I was

when Meena finally

found my umbrella

behind a chair.

  • For the artist Meena Subramaniam

A Band Of Black Monkeys

leap from the trees onto my property

one thunders across my roof

and then as I ascend the stairs

they run away one with a baby

under her body hanging

sunlight comes and goes

in the sky and yesterday

at Claus Garden brown monkeys came

they climbed the jackfruit trees

and were eating the fruit

and on the terrace

it was cool there was breeze

blowing continuously

and that I found to be a wonder

without stopping for breath

the breezes blew the entire evening

and the sky was glazed blue and white

with small black birds flying

and I felt the same way

like a small black bird flying

and the beautiful mountains and valleys

undulating under me so deep and silent and peaceful

and I free my mind and fly exhilarated by the green landscape

unfolding before me the green rivers of calm flowing

and I bathe in its wonder and glowing in its emerald light

I once again take to the air

its life giving whisper of sound its subdued rhythm

showing me my true element what I will become

when I die that I will be nothing but the formless wind

before me and I rejoice in that knowledge and for the

first time I find a strange happiness and I embrace the void

that I am my death I find is no matter I will become emptiness

I am so happy I do not care I will reach a place that is rare

I will be invisible you won’t see me no matter how hard you stare.

And The Sunset

was so beautiful

one part of the sky

in the distance

was burning red

and dark clouds

loomed beyond them

at one point

it looked like

a beautiful brushstroke

by some giant artist

and the sky was blue

right above me

and there were

big white clouds

that did not move

and they looked wonderful

and then

there were clouds

that moved

like fog covering

bigger areas

and as I stretched

my neck back

to look

there was the half moon

in the sky

and clouds

were chasing it

and soon covered it

completely

though the moon

emerged again

partially first

and then fully

and the trees

all around were smiling

as fresh breezes blew

they swayed in happiness

their multi-shaded green

swooning in joy

the leaves twinkled

like stars

of various shape

and birds flew about

adding magic

to the spectacle

and then

above me

I saw the light

silver at the head

of the cloud

how it shone

so strong and bright

it put me in a mood

of deep delight

and I thought of the skies

of my childhood

and I wondered

why I felt sad

when I saw

birds flying

in the distance

and now I realise

that we are

living creatures

doomed to love

but not know

each other

that we will

always be too many

that we will grow old

that we will wither and die.

The Forest Is Alive

with the sound

of the cicadas

and the trees

stand still in

admiration

the mountains

are dazed

under the sun

the blue sky

floats free

in sheer delight

and big white clouds

smile

life is beautiful

like these multi-coloured birds

that flew past my house

this morning

brown and red

and white and big

and I feel light

as laughter

as a dog barks

and an autorickshaw

goes past the street

and the dog

continues to bark

and the electricity

which had gone

comes back

and I am then

reminded

of my illness

the claws

in my throat

and I think

about my death

and the leaves

of the clove tree

outside my house

are still

and the sound

the cicadas make

now seem like

a giant serpent

a wave that will

swallow me whole.

The Yellow Tree

the brown tree

and the green tree

one behind the other

look like a bouquet

a cone of beauty

the cicadas are now

like a wave

delighting us

as the sun shines

all over the forest

and the sight is so haunting

so many colours

so many trees

and the birds slowly begin

to chirp

the leaves of the clove tree

quiver in the breeze

and once again the cicadas

begin their wavelike chorus

it is like the surf of the sea

and then there is silence

for a long while that

you see the world

is washed in gold

and you become the heart

of that absence of sound

only light in which you are lost

so peacefully you can die

it doesn’t matter

and then the cicadas are at it again

though now they have changed their tune

they seem to be less musical

monotonous

as though

they were at work

on something

as though they were trying

to dig their way

through to some escape

like they were hurrying

to get there

and I thought about their tenacity

and at once they went silent

and then I realised what it was

all about

it was like life

you played it

because you loved it

and left it to live.