on patience and potential

Monarch butterfly. Image source: http://www.inquisitr.com/388618/southwest-airlines-flies-late-blooming-monarch-butterfly-to-texas/
Monarch butterfly. Image source: http://www.inquisitr.com/388618/southwest-airlines-flies-late-blooming-monarch-butterfly-to-texas/

Said the lover to the beloved, who was consumed by fear of stagnating, of not fulfilling her potential, of wasting her precious time in life:

Look around you!  
 
The apple could not have been picked sooner. The cocoon could not have opened earlier. But neither is sitting still, doing nothing. Both need time to grow.
 
You are the apple of my eye
and the butterfly of my heart. 
I cannot wait until you feel for yourself the wings you are going to grow, 
and see how beautiful you are.
~
At times, we may come to feel trapped within the paths we once chose, or that were chosen for us. We may come to feel that we are idly allowing the mystery, beauty and potential life offers, to pass us by.
This piece takes some words of wisdom that we have all been fortunate to receive at some point in our lives, and adapts them into a brief story.

two poems: “Museum” and “courtyard, unedited”

Two poems: Museum and courtyard, unedited

These pieces were written while and after visiting the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada. The first, Museum, is a reflection on history, civilizations, art and interpretation. The second piece, courtyard, unedited, was penned while sitting in the Museum’s inner courtyard, and has intentionally been left unedited in order to maintain for the reader, the flow of inspiration as originally felt. It contains English as well as another Hindi-Urdu mixed language that sometimes spills onto the page. Please excuse my rough transliteration attempt as neither of these is my first language.

DSC_0412
View of the courtyard, looking up from the main floor. Copyright Asif Virani, 2014.
Photos taken in and around the Aga Khan Museum, courtesy of Asif Virani, 2014.
View of the courtyard from the second floor. Copyright Asif Virani, 2014.
DSC_0441
Up-close view of one of the metal screens/jaali on the second floor. Copyright Asif Virani, 2014.

Museum

What will the people from days to come decide to make of us,
what will they preserve in their halls?

Those gone by have become to us what remains of them,
after all tribulation and epiphany fell away into dust.

They have become what we can still understand of them.

~

There is too much left to know about knowing; not enough left to see.

We fear we are penning lines already penned by those greater than us,
a people that truly saw the truth unfold.

Nothing can be said now that has not been said before;
our efforts, mere echoes of a greater, grander voice.

What inspired these carvers, and what were they trying to say –
can we be certain that we have preserved ourselves against misunderstanding?

Did they create these shapes because those are what they saw,
or were they too, seeking to lose themselves in detailed but repetitive abstraction?

Do these patterns transcend a name?

~ ~ ~

courtyard, unedited

is jahaan mein hum upna sub kuch kho sakte hain,
sub kuch seekh  bhi saktehain

aisa husn ko bananekiliye, aisi roshni, is roshni, ki zaroorat hai

this light is something like the light of the heavens and the earth;
this light has an unnameable quality to it,
a way for all to see all

bathed in it my hand resting on the table becomes something from another world,
translucent, light diffusing outward in the place of rosy flesh

your eyes are from another time here, where patterns repeat themselves to liberate beyond eye’s capacity, where voices rise to a crescendo and we take in,

light,
light,
light, light light,

upon our hands, our face, and every
one is so beautiful here today

yahaan aake kuch bhi likhdijiye,
sub kuch shahiri banjayegi

yahaan aake kuch khaaneki zaroorat nahin mehsoos hoti,
in hawaaon, saa(n)son, is jahaan ka rooh hi kaafi hai

yahaan rehekar kuch chaate hai hum,
kuch khona bhi chaate hain

kuch cheez samaj na chaate hain hum,
kuch cheez humko yaad aatihai

kuch cheez hamaari thi, hamaari hai,
hamaare dil me se nikalke,
humhi ke aage jhoom uthi

keherahihai:

agar aapke dil mein koi baat phool ki tarha khilrahihain,
to usse khilne do;
mat sochiye

agar aapke ander koi baat hai, to aap dil ki zubaan se usse pehsh karo,
chaahe koi samje ya na samje

agar koi lafz kaafi nahin lagte,
to khudh ke lafaazon banaalo

khudh ki zubaan banaalo,

koi samje, ya na samje

~

A rough translation of courtyard, unedited:

in this place/world we can lose/forget everything of/about ourselves;
we can also learn everything

to make this kind of beauty, this type of light, this light, is needed

come here and write anything at all,
it will become poetry / anything written here becomes poetry

here, there is no need felt for eating,
these winds, breaths, the soul of this place/world is enough

staying/being here, we desire something;
also, something we wish to lose

some things we understand,
and some things, we remember

some things were ours, are ours;
some things come out from our own hearts
and have come alive/to dance in front of us

they say:

if something blossoms like a flower in your heart,
then allow it to blossom,
think not

if there is something in you that wants to be said, then use the language of your heart to convey it,
whether anyone understands or not

if no words seem enough,
then make up your own words

make up your own language,

whether anyone understands, or not

unlidded (2014)

a power enters our vessel this night

we stand, electrified
as a force from elsewhere courses through

~

for months we have opened this door and that

looking for the place we once stumbled upon
looking for the feeling which could not be stored

now here, under crescent moon and darkened sky
where soft waves keep consistent rhythm

here, is a glistening sign

~

what has taken hold of us this time?

the sky as though unlidded;
ourselves, similarly so

what stirs the trees to move as they do?
what force leaves its mark in the sand?

this power both beckons and warns

~

once again we are on the verge of sleeplessness,
once more, on the edge of your cliff

the time of our rose (2014)

Pink roses. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Pink roses. © Saara Punjani 2014.

the time of our rose has passed us,
and we become more bitter by the day

reach out your hand and pluck us, love;
remove us from the misery of these days

~

this is not our season;
this place is not our stage

linger though we might,
we are so much less dazzling
though we recall how beautiful
we’ve once been

the blossom that grew us
from the seed of our names
robed us in a quality,
innate

have we been asleep,
or have we been afraid
to let go, to move on,
come what may?

there is no telling
what we will be
the moment after the one
where we are

what fruit may we bear,
if we trust in ourselves,
if we let ourselves be,
who we are?

~

our bitterness weighs
on the very branch that nurtured us,
and we wilt and we droop in our pain

our poison spreads

we see it,
but we don’t stop it,
and that makes us very afraid.