Monday, June 2, 2008

On Moonless Night + Remembering the Singer

On Moonless Night

At midnight, when the town's asleep,
The jackal's heard to howl,
And through the moonless darkness deep,
Is answered by the owl.

And she then wakes and stealthily
Goes out through creaking door.
And in the starlight, eerily,
A figure goes before.

Is it a human, is it not?
We cannot truly tell,
But it is one we had forgot,
Who yet, with us, does dwell.

Does it not need, as others do,
Another to call own?
But who may dare, to such be true,
Who is, to sight, unknown?

Yet at the tree, beside the grave,
They meet and there embrace,
For only she could be so brave
To tryst with one sans face.

And there they stay, until, in east,
The faintest light is seen.
And disentangling, then, they leave,
Before the dawn serene.


So has she done, each moonless night,
A boon that she has won,
Who did not from such trysting fright
With silent, nameless one.

What beckoned her, how could she trust
This being of the dark,
She only knows, who's felt that lust
That's lit by midnight spark.

At midnight, when the burghers sleep,
The maiden leaves the town,
And if you would this secret keep,
She wears no dress or gown.

In nakedness, beneath the stars,
She hastens to her tryst,
And there, beheld by baleful Mars,
Is by her lover kissed.

Until the dawn, she writhes in arms
Of one, who shuns the light,
And yielding, in her heat, her charms,
She keens through moonless night.

Before first light, she hurries home,
And jackal sees her then,
But thinks a spirit nude does roam,
And hastens to its den.

And flying owl, returning then
To nest in branch on high,
Sees her -- and other, not of men,
Ascending to the sky.

Babui / Arjun  < >
2008 June 2nd, Tue.
Berkeley, California


Remembering the Singer

She sang the songs we loved but also those that caused us pain,
Exalted much we cherished, in her lilting high refrain,
While questioning what we had learned but never noted till
She did our minds with questions couched in rhyming phrases fill.

Now she is gone, and we are left with songs that still resound
Within our heads and fill our hearts with courage we had found
When we first heard her singing sweetly, tender yet so brave,
Asking each to do their duty, cease to be a slave...

And now we hear her songs ring out from village and from town,
And who can hear that singing and not cast away a frown
To smile and sing along as we would do in youth so bold,
And now still do, despite the years that pass as we grow old?

How many fought for cause that she espoused in thrilling song?
How many strove to right, as she had asked, that ancient wrong?
How many now are freed from being master or one bound?
How many heard her singing and forgotten conscience found?

She sang the songs that bid us wake, and opened ears and heart,
And singing till her final days, she did, with grace, depart.
Oh angel, born in human form, where do you sing today?
Your visit lifted all our hearts, and turned our night to day.

Babui / Arjun  < >
2008 June 1st, Sun.
Berkeley, California

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