The Desert’s Tempest and Me

Unlike secret faults,
imagined or unimagined,
there is no mystery about:
The Desert’s Tempest.
It stays with you till you recover
from its chaotic ascendance.
There is no other way, the way it goes.
In analytic order, that is the ritual.

Until this dawn,
anyone could spot a breeze
with the look of parks,
lively fancies and musical phrases.
But, as the haze built up,
clarity of sight blurred me out
of all outside’s existence.
Yet, at will, my mind can meander
to bring word of this seasonal spate.

Unasked, by the day,
in a mood of gloom,
the city hangs on to dust’s possessions;
palaces, villas dimly pass and are on purpose
wrapped around closed windows.
Without a gap, I can hear the wind
hoot and howl from its heart,
as it blows in frequent waves.
With due warning, from skies
and waters of might, fisherfolk
have returned home, like school children.
The way the circling squall vents
into a multitude of sounds,
there is fear in everything.
A pale sun quivers to see how the scene is laid.

However, for all that, still: somewhere, a lone wind-tower may survive
the raiding blizzard;
in due course, the shiny oasis should surely remove
its own deceptions.
Mad in senses, sand-columns will cease
to whirl like whirling dervishes.
Incessantly reborn and brave with patience,
camel-men will continue to sing in praise,
remembering their worthy ancestors;
the old will chant to the young, the hymn:
O, Bedu! O, Bedu! O, Bedu warrior!
How long can a one-sided duel, prosper?
Enough of living teaches them,
this truth will always prevail.

By all I have sustained,
through my poems and life’s fever,
I also know the thinking of a Desert’s Tempest.
It stays with you, till you recover,
from its chaotic ascendance.
The way it goes for me,
I just stand by, the way the Desert, does.
And count up each time,
to score off… again… again… again!
Remember, this is the ritual.

12th Feb 2009

Geeta Chhabra

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