Musings of a Ripe Leaf

a poem by P.K.N. Panicker, India

Holding my breath, I wait
in between the beautiful lush green leaves
and the fallen dried up ones.

Below shrunken leaves grieved and distressed
looking up;
Above and around tender agile ones
rubbing each other to raise exhilarating music
beautifully harmonizing all the seven notes;
In between with a sad heavy heart
fearing every bird passing by
and the breeze gracing by
I wait, stay-put motionless, for the last journey.
Where did all the courage
– the courage Stored and nurtured in my mind
in the years gone by
even as the flirting butterflies went past
rubbing their multicolored soft wings
against my body,
even as I stood firm and upright
against every devastating wind,
even as I was sharing space to build houses
for the nesting pairs of Robins,
even as I wept over the dear and near in the family
who departed during the fights and feuds
caused by the gentle breeze turned wild
danced like a witch with unleashed hair –
where did all that courage drain out – go?

Transcending beyond borrowed friendships,
beyond the bonds that bind me
to generations many before me,
the blessings received from earlier lives
a wield sobbing cry slowly, stealthily creeps into me;
Perhaps the wail could be of those departed earlier
or of those who yearned for my birth
or of those who never wanted me born.

Moving beyond the enjoyment of life as it is
mixed with the beauty of the green,
the warmth of the summer,
the cool of the rains
and the hardness of the freezing winter
the question lingers on, ‘when would the fall be?’

Translation of the poem titled ‘Pazhuththa Ilakalkku Parayanullathu’ by N.Chandrasekharan.

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