Never quite ached this way for stones and streets
and sharp winds that blew out all Diwali flames,
nothing to do but pick them up and retreat
indoors there with blackened wicks - each year the same -
and nurse the hurt, reflect on bittersweet
memories where the oil lamps stood aflame,
where wicks lit symbols of hope and not defeat
in faraway cities of different names.
Now in a place where not a zephyr stirs,
the lamps burn steadfast, though no goddess feet
will come searching for them under the stars.
Never again will steady flames feel complete
without the blackened wick where nothing flickers,
the last wisp of smoke without light or heat.
I have had to bring my lamps inside,
The wind’s just blown too hard
A small flicker and each one died
Even before the match was thrown aside
No matter how many times I tried,
Flames didn’t glow in my courtyard.
The night of lamps is a moonless night
And starshine casts no shadow
The shadows are deepest when the lamps are bright.
Yet I am aggrieved that my lamplight
Was put out summarily at the insight
Of a force I barely know.
I draw my comfort where I can,
Done with feeling hard done by.
A star sprinkled dark far better than
A dazzling yard lit by a puny plan.
Minds can be changed in an hour’s span
And flames found in a moonless sky.
The festivals always act as a prompt, though not every result finds its way to this blog. Some feel too rough for public consumption, and I don't like smoothing them out always :) This year I feel differently about roughness, rough and less rough, and much revised - all are mine ultimately...so this year two poems in one post. One now and the other written five years ago on Diwali from a very different place, physical and mental, before the blog was even birthed. I have left the poem just as I wrote it, no edits, and one difference that stands out straightaway is how my capitalisation has changed in this time :) apart from the other stuff.
Happy Diwali to you if you are celebrating, may the light always fall on your path and never be in your eyes. And if you are not, then I wish you a happy season, autumn or spring, whichever it happens to be at your end.