Poetry: Ranjana Sharan Sinha

The  Grey  Horizon

I come to Benaras
            On the bank of the Ganges
With an urn in my hands
            Containing your mortal remains;
My siblings and l with
            Tear-stained faces
Stand motionless in a world of sorrow!

O my father, my dear father!
            You're no more, no more with us!
High in the sky reach lamentations,
            The boatman's song is sad,
The river remains ready for sessions,
            The oar touches the water cool;
The kingfisher with its blue and orange
            Plumage and stubby tail,
The long-legged heron with its pointed bill
                    Fail to invite my attention!

I look at the timeless holy river:
            Silver, vast and deep,
The boat moves slowly through the water,
            Soon the ash is immersed, oh!
The sky remains in her fast sleep!
            For hours together l sit on the bank
Looking at the vast expanse of sand,
            As the day slips into a sad evening!
The truth lies naked in  semi darkness--
            Mortals with feeble power!
Hollow world crammed with emptiness!

Daylight approaches:
            The darkened sky turns salmon-pink,
The colour seeps across the horizon
            Summoning the sun.
But it doesn't dispel the darkness
            Enveloping my mind and heart--
I feel sad and forlorn in the magic city!
            Cargoes of memories surround me:
I'm plunged into the years morphed into past!

With you, my visits to Benaras
            Basking in the glory of childhood!
Holding your hand l enjoyed
            The places mesmerised:
A splurge of traditional charms
             In the crowded Vishwanath lane--
Clay idols,brasswares,bright beads and shells!
            Enamoured with the sight
I feasted my eyes on them, and
            The very next day those sweet nothings
Became surprise gifts from you!

Walking on the streets of the antique city,
            I listened to you spellbound;
The mystery of the city seemed to deepen,
            My curiosity soared high!
The oldest living city with a glorious past--
            When Athens was growing in strength,
Before Rome had become known to the world,
            Or Greece had contended with Persia,
Kashi had risen to greatness on earth!

The home of Lord Shiva-the great Vishwanath,
            Adorned with Flowers and bilva leaves;
Ganga- reminiscent of king Bhagirath!
            The pious beauty of the river
Quite early in a moment enchanted:countless
            Domes, temples, minarets of mosques,
Boats on the tranquil river until the ghats
            Erupt into a riot of colour and activity
With the river breaking up the Sun's
            Golden reflection in the water!

The magical sweeping stairs
            Plunging into the Ganges
Crowded by devotees eager to take a dip;
            The beautiful crescent sweep
Of the river towards the north
            From the western bank--Like
The white moon pinned to Lord Shiva's Lock!

Out of my reverie, the sorrow continues:
            Benaras without you, gives me a stab,
The heartache, no one can heal,
            But l know, in the memories
I'll feel you every moment, every day!
            Your memories become a treasure--
Too precious and beautiful to forget!

Green Ferns

Under a blue estival sky
amid bosky, bristling
bank of a river,
The sunlight is filtered
through the canopy of trees
creating dappled sunlight.
To my delight,
I find green ferns
shaking off their hibernal slumber:
Beautiful, alluring!
The fern fronds with
tiny spirals have burgeoned into
bright green leaves
shaped like feathers--
Soft and hairy!
The emerald enters into my soul:
Hope,happiness, renewal!
But beyond the green mass,
Lifeless leaves withered by heat
Sleep on the earth-- Brown and dead.
I feel sad and heavy:
Can't dwell upon the happiness
The summer has brought me--
Opalescent dawn turns
into sombre sunset!

Deep Within

Spring has taken leave,
Autumn approaches--
The trees turn
From green to yellow
letting their leaves fall and flutter:
Brown, bronze, and
cinnamon in colour!
The spicy scents
flowing within the breeze
make me restless--
I find messages
of cold winter in the fiery splendour!
I decipher the painful messages
And try to delete them.
Bidding adieu to the uncapturable,
I look beneath my
deepest depths, and
come out with the hidden jewels:
Inner beauty, love and wisdom!
I thank God mulling over the saying
Growing older: A privilege
denied to many!

Former professor in English at Shri Binzani City college, Nagpur(MH), lndia, Dr. Ranjana Sharan is a well- known voice in lndian Poetry in English.She has authored and published 05 books and 50 research papers and has received commendation from the former President of lndia A.P.J Abdul Kalam for her poem Mother Nature. Her poems, short stories, articles and research papers have been widely published in national and international anthologies, journals ,magazines, e-zines and archives. Recipient of many prestigious awards and honours for her outstanding contribution to literature, her poems have been published in Sahitya Akademi's Indian Literature.she writes in Hindi, too.

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