to the beloved (2014)

A colour we cannot name.  © Saara Punjani 2014.
A colour we cannot name.
© Saara Punjani 2014.

the water of the stream flows to its end
and i, flow in all planes to the beloved

the beloved calls, and i dissolve into the wind;
the beloved exists, so i go

~

these waters gleam now and again silver,
now and again a colour we cannot name

once,

we think,

we think we glimpsed the beloved’s face reflected there

now we undertake this pilgrimage every day

~

the beloved is, so i am too,

for the moment

the water of the stream flows to its end

and i, on my way to the beloved

in my veins, in my blood (2014)

i write a letter to the beloved
my fingers move only in love

i move in love
and love moves me;
i turn,
i turn,
i turn

~

which sense to keep when loved by the beloved;
which of any of my things could i need?

what use for eyes that see the beloved everywhere;
for direction when upon the beloved’s door?

nothing need make be sense said anymore

the beloved knows what i would write before i do;
the beloved in my veins, in my blood

to speak of this, is to be silent (2014)

to speak of this, is to be silent

~

this night bears witness of the re-emergence of i
who extracts the self from the folds of us all
to take up seat in the presence of the beloved

 

who can stay locked up when the beloved comes to call;
who can refuse the sweet companionship?

every surface on which the beloved’s gaze falls,
loves, breathes, swings and sways in rapture

~

no one taught me how to find you
but you taught me
by the pen

no one told me i already knew you
but you tell me
over again

inside me, whole seas part
to reveal the way
to your shore

i have come upon myself
in a way
like never before

~

the shores of my heart (2014)

i close my eyes and listen for the arrival
of the beloved on the shores of my heart

~

where is the beloved now, even he does not know;
the horizon, an ever-unreachable illusion across the vast empty sky

i linger still, in the sand of our memories
which even now is freshly turned with the tread of soft feet

every wave which comes to bump up against my heart
sings a slightly different song than the one before it

in every stone i see the face of the beloved looking back at me;
in every wave is the depth of his eyes

each wave comes asking to move me,
to share news of the beloved’s journey from afar

do i want to know what news they carry of the beloved?

~

the last vessel has sailed from my shores

and there are none who can carry me across myself

i cannot send anyone after the beloved
but i take comfort in knowing
that i see the very same horizon
as he

~

i am quiet;
i am still

a stone thrown could not change this

and neither could one pour more water
to move me

 

this fresh instance (2014)

"That all men may know his work." Inscription in the ceiling of the Royal Ontario Museum. © Saara Punjani 2013.
“That all men may know His work.” Inscription in the ceiling of the Royal Ontario Museum. © Saara Punjani 2013.

who can say we have no need of a poet?

how many times we need eat the same message
yet certainly it tastes better when fresh!

~

let me bake this fresh instance,
let me sing this fluttering green;
let me whirl the tunic of my heart round;
let me paint this golden sheen

let me make this message something you know,
something you recognize;
something that knocks on the door of your stillness
and rouses you into a poet too

 

 

the shower of your blessing (2014)

this, is the shower of your blessing
the one that comes down as music
needing only something off which to sound

we hover now, on the best place there is:
on the threshold, a step away from your rain,
but not fully inside of it

 

only here can we truly appreciate what you send

 

were we immersed,
we could not see how this rain drops abundantly on every leaf,
each of which curls, bows, in gratitude

were we too far away
we could not see how this rain constantly merges with itself,
ever merging into larger course

 

a trickle to a stream, a stream to a river:
instinctively, we know where this merger leads

the coming of a light (2014)

Dawn, or dusk. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Dawn, or dusk. © Saara Punjani 2014.

the earth we tilled with your mercy
is covered in a layer of dust

ourselves, producers of little rain,
dry in the eye and empty in the chest

i, never an oasis but always home to green,
turn to sand carried swiftly away

~

at times i wonder,
am i rumi or am i shams?

am i to receive
or will i ever inspire,
not as me,
but of you?

will a day come when i
am finally what you intended,

when i am no longer a sum of ingredient?

~

keep me apart here,
i have no complaint,

but please, please tell me this:

am i here to await the coming of a light,

or am i here to myself become one?

what sun shines here (2014)

a flower blooms steadily in love:

desiring for sun to gaze upon its every part

yearning for dew to slide slowly over each curve

 

at the peak of its love, each petal arches so strongly

that it breaks free of everything and goes on

~

what sun shines here, a dusty lamp;
what morning wet, a mere drop

tell me, if i break free,
will you place a palm underneath and carry me?

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.

 

straight lines (2014)

straight lines do not inspire us;
straight lines, they make up a fence

now we look for empathy in coffee mugs
and the faces of the people in the street

where is the warmth we knew and loved?
where, where, is the sun?

~

why does repetition here not lead
to the liberation we have come to find in you?

where we are now, there are similarly
levels upon levels to climb

but with you what could be attained in a moment of love,
here takes years and years

~

far too long have i loved you and your accommodation;
you take me as i am, and i need not win you over, because
you will never leave

~

the straight lines in which we now clothe ourselves
and the straight lines upon which we walk
are none like the directness with which we approached you,
one bead of light at a time, along the length of your rope

this green (2014)

today’s cold, crisp leaf passes me by

why do we not connect as we once did?

 

i fear that this green will not come again in all of its freshness

why do we not remain in life as we once did?

 

for certain, no good comes of joy without equal parts pain

joy, the flutter of the leaf still connected; pain, the moment of parting ways

 

but what to call the reality of dead wood, where there is not a leaf in sight, but only a thickening numbness?

~

 

the world and places like it (2014)

The most beautiful thing. © Saara Punjani 2014.
The most beautiful thing. © Saara Punjani 2014.

dearest,

why do we go all around
the world and places like it?

why do you want to take me where you’ve been?

~

what makes you whole
makes me whole, too

the feeling you seek,
is my life

 

how long will we flit,
two bees on the same flower
returning home to tell stories
of the most beautiful thing?

 

what you love, is what i love too,
though i am not your bee

you needn’t see with my eyes,
you needn’t feel with my heart

to know how hundreds of fields
become one

sinking ship (2014)

years do not slowly shape this knowledge,
as waves tend to slowly shape shore

put us in a room of strangers aboard a slowly sinking ship,
and no one need explain what to do

~

if a man leaves a room, and we dislike him,
we paint that dislike onto his memory
so as not to have to dislike ourselves

but if a man leaves the world,
suddenly, all surfaces are occupied;
where now do we place our colours?

~

in a sinking ship, none are friends,
and yet, we know each other well

in my eyes, you can see your grief;
in your grief, i see all of me

never have we shared a meal
as candid as this one,

and today, i wear my face without paint.

no longer (2014)

who can say what should be done?

~

no longer can i breathe without running,
no longer can i eat before moving,
no longer can i speak before listening

no longer can i do
before asking,

what if,
what if all i am furthering
is irrelevance?

~

have you come here to sit,
or have you come to work hard,
so that you may make something
from nothing at all?

~

play without work
makes only a stomach ache

and love without change,
a costly, boring painting!

i care not for the pleasures
unless
you first give me of pain.

the frame (2014)

i would love to be in your movie

see how you frame those in love?

their breath, crisp on water wings
their abode, all of nature’s backdrop
every celestial body shaamil in their moment

would that i could be the one in the frame,
the one in the midst of it all

~

their love through the lens,
the viewer twice-removed

you are her, the beloved in the frame,
says the one farther removed than i

 

living in you (2014)

living in you is a sober kind of intoxication

in it, my capacity to give increases,
and a focus resolves: that each day must be lived

~

what you must do, is what has been assigned;
all you need know, is your task

will you be the one blade of grass that refuses to bow in the wind?

~

it’s incredible how fortunate we’ve been made;
it’s incredible how fortunate we’ve become.

your place (2014)

take a step back from the frontline
– it is not your place

remove yourself from the head of the table
– it is not your place

step back from the position you’ve given yourself
in the world where you give yourself such prominence

those strings you think you hold,
are an illusion

 

if we told you to build a mountain,
or if we commanded you to fly,
you could do nothing

faced with the impossible,
you would harbour no illusion
of your own inherent limits

if you were to try, you could only whisper a prayer,
knowing you would have to rely
on Someone

 

see what you’ve forgotten in your careful preparation;
see what you’ve overlooked in your careful research?

the ant does not concern itself with the possibility of an eclipse

 

remember your role; your place.

 

navroz (2014)

what is new about this day, navroz?

is it simply the flip of a sunny switch, or the overnight emergence of garden weed?

what do you want to be?
what do you want to change?

~

you have had the winter to yourself

now, prepare yourself to be grown

prepare yourself to be tamed, pruned
and tethered at the hands of another

prepare yourself to shift your roots
in accommodation of those that grow beside

it hurts, the pain of limiting yourself
though you know your own potential
to spread far and wide

but, if you shift your roots appropriately,
you will have set stage below ground for what will come to be above

what harmony you create in the hidden
is in every way what will come to be seen, outside

your choice to curb the tumorous growth of your self
is the reason for the interwoven canopy above

which is you (2014)

i walk the narrowest road toward you,
no less fine than a hair

if there is anywhere to fall
it is directly into the mist below,

which
is you.

 

the end of your rope
is always in sight

all i must do is stretch out my hand
and you send it my way.

your rope – a lifeline for one who drowns
when in fact there is no other sea

if there is anywhere to drown,
it is directly into the height, width, and depth,

which
is you.

i’ve found you, me (2014)

i like you, me

you may be my twin sister unrealized

 

are you in my pen or in the page?
am i holding a magnet, that you rearrange your essence to meet me?

 

i am fond of you, me

you may be my outlet,
the electric source of all my harmony

or perhaps my inlet,
a moonlit sanctuary where only the tide governs our mood

ha!
i’ve found you, me
and i am  not going to let you go!

~

you are exactly me, but better;
my counsel, my friend

your presence is better than a thousand praises to my name

give me hope! and keep me content

be my voice when all else is a confusing din

the friend (2014)

the signs of maturity within us say:

o dear heart, the friend will come again tomorrow

 

the friend lays beside, though he may rest elsewhere;
the friend knows you by your eye

the friend loves you more than you can know,
in dimension after dimension untold

~

look with a different eye
and you will see him holding you together from within

look with a different eye
that you may know him even after he departs forever from sight

~

o my love:

you are my footing, my keystone,
my place of rest,

my pilgrimage, my refuge, my harbour,
my nest.