Fables of The Self

The Card Game

Despite various permutations and combinations
the lines never repeat on fingers, or a face;
I smile within confines of my tongue and cheek,
the same queen and king laugh behind the ace.

I saw you through the opening in front - a window,
you appeared fuller as I declared my trump suit;
a change not in the object but on the subjective side,
the confidence a card gains in knowing its strength!


In labour he does not see capital,
but finds love;
in work he expects no return,
performs worship;
in contemplation he is sober,
discards scholarship;
he meditates as naturally
as one would breathe;
line of demarcation fades
between secular and spiritual;
the ochre scarf contrasts
nicely against his white collar.

The Watermark

It is faint but sure, on every page,
the basis of words I try to extrude.
The watermark silently tolerates
regular, vulgar, and cheap expressions -
the graphs and pictures in the foreground.

May be the watermark itself is a distortion,
the ignorance - the darkness - the faintness,
the non-clarity of incomplete imprint.
The fugitive expression masquerades
as a piece of art - the water mark!

Would you like to keep the background clean?
- rub off the shades of distortions - thosse grays
drawn from the mixture of black and white?
Only if it were possible to separate
the green of earth and the blue of sky
from intervening thoughts and clouds!

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The Staircase

That day I hesitated
to put my foot on the step;
do I climb towards the terrace
or does the terrace descend down?
Strangely, the staircase laughed and
the sound reverberated all around.
It reached the sky
laboring as it ascended,
and was lost in the abyss
in its cascading descent.

Primal Nature

Like a completed jigsaw puzzle
the disturbed pieces are in place;
a state of complacent euphoria
creates the illusion of one picture.

The broken lines imperceptibly merge
into one another with optical finesse
and overpower my doubts for a while -
mystifying moments mingled with joy.

In the ensuing dynamic pause,
as tricky magic balances the act,
I forget the magician -
the real manipulator of primal nature.

The Thaw

The wind is cold, bitter cold,
freezes our relations to fragile icicles;
in the ravine below the thick glaciers
appear as masks of ice-age legacies.

I never wanted to be a lotus leaf,
the green round and moronic design
that never allows a feeling to stick
- in the name of non-attachment.

Throw the light, the light to thaw
the icy surface and frozen lines,
my skin is stretched beyond tolerance
wearing this mask of social niceties.

all poems by c s shah

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