By the Bend of the River

 From Moksha Smith: Agni's Warrior-Sage

by Antonio de Nicolas


I left the burning forest

looking for waters to wash away

the varnish people had laid

on the cells of my timid soul:

the rainbow of orthodoxy,

the mauve of religious beliefs,

the yellow of false shames,

the red of unwanted charity,

the blue of indifference,

the green of difference…

The river ran deep

by the meadow of reeds,

the sun was bending its rays

at the elbows avoiding the depth…

A bird shrieked in the distance,

the silence joined the depth of  the river,

as suddenly.

silence and water mixed

in a wide OM of muffled sound

and sounding silence

in one drum beat.

From the river depths

the Om of the water

climbed to its echo in

my own dry mouth

as waves of air and

tongue vibrations groped

for  moist space

within the soft cave

of my expecting palate.

Earth and sky,

palate and mouth

human tongue

and river tongue

joined in the dance

of marking the spaces

where language

as human life is born:

A.. U.. M… A…U…M…

The body of the goddess spread

with the dimensions of the seasons,

her head nestled

in the Saraswati river

her legs down in Tutikurim,

waves of vowels giving birth

along the sky and the earth

to human spaces with arms spread

along the two Bays

of Bengal and Bombay,

with the power of lungs,

and the webs of the head,

gathered in the hri of the heart

bringing the joy of tears

and shouts of the startled soul,

as  OM after OM climbed on each other

to reach the sky as light

and return to my parched heart

as soothing rain,

my whole body now

a willing prisoner of the tongue

of the river by the bend…

And when the silence returned,

the OMs would modulate themselves

reaching higher and lower

in waves of sounding silence

spreading with its sound

the body of the river and my own

until we at last surrendered

to the touch and the embrace

of the heart in the waters of  the sea.

I was, at last, clean.

The colors of my soul

dissolved, all at once,

there, among the reeds.


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