The Signs of Times

Tenderly the fig tree announces the change in season. Wise ones look to the sky for changes imminent. Will it be today? Tomorrow or the day after? It worries me no longer for I have sought and received viaticum. A half-empty suitcase and a rubbish bag are witness to the preparations I have made for any speedy departure.

The piercing voice from a minaret protests it must be today. Winter storms cracked, blew and razed standing trees and settlements. All are ready fodder for the inferno to come. A parched hot summer will prevail. Devils will swirl shutting all hopeful eyes. And, in the ensuing darkness the world will fade away.

“Not so”, says the soft merchant as he reclines on his divan and crunches another apple with his smiling teeth. “ Tomorrow will be another day, as the day before and the day before that. I have heard dire statements of gloom a hundred times before. I would be a coward to believe these harbingers of doom and gloom.”   Watching him enjoy the moment I ponder, “What if? What if he is asked to give an account of his stewardship tonight?”

One standing with a granite face before a gale force storm, or, in the middle of the Sahara, parch-lipped, and dying of thirst, falls into a swoon, no saint to take pity on the soul in agony! It wonders if all is lost? Is this the end? Then a wisp springs up and revives the despairing, addled one, who rushes out into the world, gladdened and forgetful of what has passed. “It may happen, but, it was not today”.     

Wizened and consoled I go about my days. It will happen when it will happen. Consequences, if any, cannot spoil the day for I have my viaticum and worldly possessions  put in order.

To My Beloved 1

I journeyed to your dwelling my Beloved.

Evening was nestling among the trees,

As a curlew called

At the first twinkle of the evening star,

And incense filled the gloom,

I carried my tray of sweetmeats

(A heart cake steeped in wine).

In the dulled courtyard

One appeared.

In a sharp swoop

My offering

He swallowed up,

And  with a toothless grin

Spat it out again,

Crazed in a crackling laugh.

There it lay,

By the barren wayside,

Wayfarers crushing it underfoot;

Never to meet your sweet lips

Or, to multiply with fruitfulness.

But, I can smile

Swooning each day

In the fragrance of your courtyard.