Saraswathi remembers

white swans on river
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

On her swan-ringed island

Of mist and falling petals

Of song, Saraswathi stands

Holding the wild scent

Of the lilies of eternity

In her silver hand,

Her fingers braiding bright

Visions

Of the dawn-lit past

Of myth-hatched eons

Long ago

Singed in the flames

Of endings

Half-forgotten though,

Their names,

In the days that followed after

Of snow

And white-

Drifting mountains.

On the lapping lake

Pairs of swans sail

And shake

The water from their wings

Their white and gray cygnets trail

Behind

All in a row

Bobbing on the ruffled waves.

Up on the granite cliff

In the rock-cut caves

In tall

Jars

Of stone

Are ranged the rolls of palm leaf scrolls

That caught the words

Of poems flown

The whispering of languages, long gone,

That went on the wandering wind,

On the wings of the waters

The sacred song, the notes of forest birds

The sounds, the syllables, the brush strokes,

The ring of the chisel-hafted hieroglyph,

The eloquence of flowers,

All kept with care

From the child’s fist-drawn scribbles

To the holy vedas of the rishis,

Seers from the stars

All kept, with none slipped into the abyss

None swept aside

There

Are bundled reams

Of cotton

Cloth in all the colors of creation:

The pale-footed hue

Of the mourning dove and her mate,

The nestled orange feathers

Of the northern flicker,

The banded tail

Of the sharp-shinned

Hawk,

Shades of the stout

Trunks of the ficus

And the teak

The red glint

Of the setting sun

Across the pebbled upland creek

The blue

Tint

Of the lotus

And the silver halo

Of the moon that beams

Through the indigo

Ocean of the swift-sailing night

All abide,

Their essence

To ride along the clouds

Of each new dawn

That sings

On the shining cosmic

Tide

Every delight

Of the dance

Of the caterpillar

On the rain-bent

Amarillis.

In the sacred annals

Of her book-filled jars

All knowledge, beauty

And infinity

All that is real

Nothing lost.

And now the swans fly

Higher

In the air

Of crystal frost

Among the green enchanted lands.

Within her magic

Translucent jars

The least stir

Is known

Of every creature

The leaping gray-pawed squirrels

The rooting snout

Of the bristle-faced, brave boar

Then too, remembered is the way

To skip

Among the stars

Or how to weave a shimmering cloak

Or fabricate

A flying ship

Or stoke

An immortal fire

Against the bane-crossed

Cold

Or travel fast

Like racing light

The path to take

To a wondrous land

Of fairies, elves, and heroes bold,

The remedy for every ill

How to ply

The sea

Of time to find the age of gold

Hidden on a cliff-faced shore

And how to make

One’s way to the deepening core

Of the moss-footed forest

In an elvan autumn,

All knowledge past

And yet to be.

Where now the kind

Laughter

Of Saraswathi?

Where the haunting notes

Of the veena?

And the light

Beat of the mringdam?

Where the bells that peel

At dawn?

Where the peace

In the mourning call

Of the swans and the flocking geese?

And where the soft bleating of the goats

Clambering up the rock-strewn hill?

All wait,

Wild and free,

Still

In the luminous blue jars

Of the drifting sky

All that shines true

One day

To be born anew

When the mist settles,

With the glad-crying swans of sunrise,

Over the mountains

Of a far country.

Written around 2010

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

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