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Ajai Narendran

of

Cochin, Kerala, India

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A Requiem- Homage to Dr.Kalpana Chawla

by

Ajai Narendran


Dedicated to Dr.Kalpana Chawla who was on board the Space shuttle Columbia

Even as a child
you knew well before that
if little feet could make little journeys
then your destination could not be so far away
because your vision pierced through the neon glow
out into the constellation's star lit fringes.
You left this bright blue spot
that was your campsite - your only one
on your cosmic sojourn,
an adventure that later turned out to be
a pilgrimage that released you
from the confines of the space capsule
and the soul cages
to the immensity of the intergalactic spaces
and beyond.
Darting across the touch down path,
that turned out to be your take off route,
your heart must have skipped a few beats in excitement
at the thought of a reunion with your loved ones,
at the elation of completing yet another mission,
at the beatitude of beholding an integral vision
of our planet in itís cosmic back drop,
and your home that rocked like a cradle
on strings of time that at once stretched,
in one wild swing,
through the loop holes of safety
to eternity and the realms of infinitude
taking you to the abode of no return.
Sure you must have sensed throes
of an impending disaster as things went wrong
one after the other, when moments seemed like aeons
and the inevitable became the only choice left.
But undeterred you went along
right into the unknown,
into the black hole of destiny
hidden in the luminescence
of boundless emptiness in all its fullness
that engulfed the nothingness
everything eventually gets reduced to.

What was it that you felt then?
was it a momentary rage
at technology taking too much for granted,
was it the seraphic joy
of total submission to heavenís decree,
or was it just a numb stillness
suspended in blissful oblivion?
Soon perhaps I will spot you flitting
across the skies homeward bound;
Many might rustle- a comet is falling
and gaze at it awestruck, assuming
some terrible event is fore shadowed
whereas there traversing galaxies
that will be your winged soul
longing to join us
like a bright streak of hope, grit and grace
through the veiling dust of the bygone
gyrating in the aftermathís gravitating swirl
of recurring fears here on earth,
to lead us through a transformation
of another regeneration!


The Summing Up

by

Ajai Narendran

When miles seem to shrink down
at every finger tap on the key board
When 0s and 1s
dart across the emptiness
of the super-conducting-super-collider tunnel
engulfing the information super highway
When collisions and deletions and materialization
of myriads of thoughts and emotions
pass through the logic gates
of man-machine mother board's programmed free will.....
this separation now seems
like a wild amusement
and effacing misconceptions
seem like a childlike attunement,
and agony the silent joy.

Loneliness that casts her
forlorn dark shadow
on white patches of time
loomed up with stretching space
now seem to have built
a canopy of shade
against blistering heat waves
of infidel thoughts and recurring fears.

The opacity of the unknown
has now become a prism
generating perspectives of many hues.
Vagabonds of experiences
that once strayed into my arms,
then got shaped into memories
of fond remembrances and futile forgetfulness
of imperious realities
are now getting metamorphosised
in the dark womb of desire
into cloned-luminous dreams.

Remorse that once yelled at woes
sprung from the gorge of self deception
have now become silent prayers
resounding in the altar of acceptance
blowing into life
the faint, flickering amber of hope.
Things have changed,
transformed and transmuted
far beyond the expected patterns
of all calculated moves.
Even those flashes of insights
and streaks of inspiration
that came in a gush
seem to have dripped out
much like the spent out glow
of the glowworm that perched
on this hand for a while
and then flew away
becoming just another fly
in the alarming heights
of swarming thoughts.

How true...
half of what is seen
is not understood,
much of what is understood
is not told,
More of what is told
got obliterated of its import
adulterated with words
for high impact.
The rest....the rest surface
like murk in the offering
before the deity of grace unbound,
and the very playful swindler
of many a turn around.

So be it!...

Is clear vision more perceptive
of sun's red spots
than myopic vision?
Will blindness ever get perturbed
at the bulbís dimming brightness in
voltage fluctuations?
..and does the unseen cease to exist
any more than the seen, yet unperceived?
Seeking out answers
for seemingly endless questions
is much like trying to discern beforehand
which seed will germinate
among the millions sown
on an unfamiliar terrain.

...Just leave it!...

But that really doesn't matter much
for, now there is a feeling that
was not quite there before,
that things will get better and better
no matter how much gets transmuted
or how much lies unperceived
no matter how less i cherish
or what all will eventually perish,
no matter how much i forget. falter and fall
or how often i regret,
no matter what public opinion is
or what heaven's decree will be
no matter what not..
this sickening forlornness
too will fade away into
another awareness suspended
in blissful oblivion!

A speck of moon
and those handful of stars
will fill up my entire sky.
yes, how reassuring is the consolation that
I am alive and so does the rest of the world too !
So much of noise, a little voice
silence , and missing notes
will make my music complete,
my seraphic symphony!

The Transmutation

by

Ajai Narendran

Last night you beckoned
as if in a wild dream
in a background of blue
like a mighty hawk bravely soaring,
totally liberated taking different altitudes
with burning passion
and all your vigor against the whirlwind
towards those ecstatic heights
veiled by thick darkness
that found its way out
through the doors of sighs flung open
by the tremors caused
by the rhythmic flutters
of your inexhaustible wings and later...
when the blazing storm got transformed
into a cool gentle breeze
and its soft murmurs resonated
with my pulsating throbs
You too got transformed
into a sweet serene red Rose
slightly withered and trampled
gently swaying in the breeze
after gracefully succumbing to and
surviving, confronting a ravaging cyclone!

Providence

by

Ajai Narendran

Do not be surprised
if in the wilderness of illusions
a seed of reality sprouts and bloom into a flower.
Do not be surprised
if in the darkness of despair
an extinguished amber of hope
is rekindled and burst into effulgence.
Do not be surprised if in the dreariness of sorrow
you find a stream of joy coursing through your being.
Do not be surprised if at the breaking point
of forlorness you find a caring hand s
tretched towards you lost in a crowd of starngers.
Do not be surprised even if a chance encounter
bring us together in the most un foreseen way.
Do not be surprised, never any more for,
this is the way the unknown rolls into the known;
this is the way every unsaid prayer gets answered in silence;
this is the way the cretainity of providence
reigns supreme over the statistical probability of coincidence!

The Enigmatic Transformation

by

Ajai Narendran

Enraptured by the strange prediliction
I walked in numb stillness, adrift in the crowd
all the way down the noisy streets.
Each unconscious stride bore within it
a thousand steps of a self-forgetful emancipating dance
to the mellifluous tunes of an ethereal melody
immaculately conceived, wrought in solitude
sung in solemn silence by the guardian angel
radiating a profusion of the Mother's grace.
And each step though in itself an unending flux
in turn became a flitting leap
traversing the gyrating galaxies within
transcending all confines overcoming the threshold
of many a gravitating blackhole.
Yet, each note of that celestial melody
that stirred my being to its very core
merged with my pulsating throbs...
then into that blissful silence.
And each sweeping leap
with all its might and vigor
merged with every frail little step...
then into that tranquil stillness
. But amidst all this dissolution
was the gentle unfoldment,
unfurling in an amazing way,
the space within my heart into the serene vastness
spread out reverberating with the voice of silence
. Yet, I drifted swirling,
willingly succumbing like the scattered pollen
of a fading flower in the meek breeze
before the summer rain wondering what
this sudden change meant!

Karma

by

Ajai Narendran

Just like that little girl
who merrily left after briskly erasing
those neatly done sums on her little black slate,
I too will leave one day erasing everything at once
with a smile that can hide all my pain
and forsake my this very life.
Like the powdered white chalk piece
now gone without a trace
I too will crumble into dust
and disappear leaving no trails.
But even then Is everything erased
from everywhere and vanished for ever...?
Do not the erased sums still exist in her mind
as symbols,numbers and figures

Elements

by

Ajai Narendran

FIRE
The words still left unspoken
set ablaze the spoken words
Fire, whatever it touches glows,
whatever it leaves is reduced to ashes.
AIR
Spoken words swirled gyrating
around the words still left unspoken.
Even as the most ravaging cyclone
carries within it the center to which
It must eventually come to rest
WATER
A wave
a surge a relentless upheaval;
Are you to me the river?
Are you to me the sea?
Or indeed the river in the sea?
Are you to me the flooded
yet serene voyaging river itself
which no one entering twice
has ever now found the same!

The Autumnal Interlude

by

Ajai Narendran

A lush of green came..
came riding the untimely autumnal breeze,
knocked upon the locked gates
of the frozen landscape
and sought the dictator's consent,
with a baritone more than
a thousand gongs struck together,
to enter in.
The ruthless dictator didn't pay any heed,
all her pleas went unheard
and into his fuming rage disappeared
like vapor in the desert.
He stopped her there and thundered back
permission denied, stay away,
flowering season is far away;
Never disturb the seasonal cycle,
monotony is the name of the game.
I will never let you enter my abode for,
your time elapsed just a while ago.
The autumnal queen clad in green
gently receded away
with more grace than her rushing forth.
But the little while she stayed,
though a remote presence,
imparted the touch kindling enough
to stir the frozen stems
into a dim awareness, an awakening
out of the spell of enforced submissiveness
but never managed
to break the sheath of snow
even as they saw her fading away.
The lush of green came_ came riding
the autumnal breeze
stayed for a while and drifted away.
The landscape remained frozen numb
beneath the layers of snow and mud
despite his rigorous ploughing with all his might.
Even amidst this excruciating winter
the delayed Autumn that took a longer course
is asked to come early
even when she arrived,
though late, at last!

The Swansong

by

Ajai Narendran

Please let the ethereal bud
silently bloom in the ruins of collapsed castle.
Let us not harm it please!
Be a smile- a part of this wondrous existence,
Do not harm it please.
There is no need To transplant it
And let's continue to sing
Listen yet more intensely
You will hear my swansong!

Providence

by

Ajai Narendran

Do not be surprised
if in the wilderness of illusions
a seed of reality sprouts and bloom into a flower.
Do not be surprised
if in the darkness of despair
an extinguished amber of hope
is rekindled and burst into effulgence.
Do not be surprised if in the dreariness of sorrow
you find a stream of joy coursing through your being.
Do not be surprised if at the breaking point
of forlorness you find a caring hand s
tretched towards you lost in a crowd of starngers.
Do not be surprised even if a chance encounter
bring us together in the most un foreseen way.
Do not be surprised, never any more for,
this is the way the unknown rolls into the known;
this is the way every unsaid prayer gets answered in silence;
this is the way the cretainity of providence
reigns supreme over the statistical probability of coincidence!

Illusory Perceptions

by

Ajai Narendran

When I get some thing
that I sought for long I say to myself,
Time is a veil.
When I seek the same thing
that slipped out unawares
and later find it in the same place
in a trampled transformed state
I say to myself,
Space is yet another veil.
When the awareness and the memory
of my seeking and possessing it slowly crumble
and fade disappearing into the void within
I say to myself
everything is just a web of illusion
knit by the ever stretching looms of time
tucked to the rapidly shifting points in space.
When I myself change
without even a moment's introspection
I say to myself, The so called personality
is nothing but an ephemereal translucent mask
with ever-changing colours and shapes.
When my words and deeds contradict each other I say to myself,
Each word is superfluous, each deed an added luster.
When I am alone away from the crowd
running amok and listen to my heart beats
I feel convinced that everything is temporal..
a fleeting show,
a projection on my mental screen!

The Solitary Pilgrim

by

Ajai Narendran

Though despair cramps everywhere
there is a serenity in solitary suffering.
All alone, all but one...
a solitude that imparts meaning for,
at a level of bankruptcy
there is a level of prosperity;
the sky itself, and the night with all the stars
seem natural possessions
bestowed upon right from birth.
Well aware of the nearing winter
silently enduring the scorching summer
longing for the autumn's interlude...
below and above this mortal ladder
is all encompassing vastness with all its glory-
A Grace Divine without a price tag!

Mindscape Greens

by

Ajai Narendran

When I embarked on
to traverse this desert
all alone-all but one
I never quite realized
that I would breathe in
what this dreary desert exhales -
the sand storms.

All set to trod on
to the point of no return,
it was fun to watch my footprints
get blown off in the wind.
With no direction and destination
with no remorse or retribution
I managed to plod on through the dark
riding the blistering heat waves
and cruised through
the dire-straits of mirages too.

Set out as an adventure,
right into the unknown
stretched across this dreary expanse
to ferret out the gems
from the abyss of despair,
It soon got transformed
into a pilgrimage ...
and right at the edge of the precipice
I heard the howling wind
with hitherto ridiculing overtones
and resonating duotones,
whispering into my being
that resounded and echoed
from the dark gorge of illusions
' there is a sleeping crystal in every stone....
throw out the chisel of reason
and the hammer of deluded negation....
stretch out your hands of acceptance
and hold the stones in your palm...
hold them gently
with child like passion,
you will then see the crystals glazing.í!

Ah.....how bright the stars shine
when the darkness grow more intense!

... no summer rain even once!?
Have the seasons ceased to come
into this desolate nobody's land?

A rain drop fell
like a tear drop from heavens,
the summer did cast its magic spell.
and then I learnt
that it beheld a thousand seas
in an ocean of virtuous grace.

That was a sign, I felt
a premonition too of the un manifest
that lurked beneath
the veil of opaque hopes.

The soft bed of sand
had beneath its cool surface
the cactus hidden,
Walking and crawling I traversed much
..... passing clouds gave me the shade.
Clinging to my shadow I derided loneliness
Talking to myself I befriended silence.

Too long a time had I been wandering
bruised and bled....I went on undeterred.
Lost horizons and crossed borderlines
new perspectives and newer realities...
It had all the flavors of a pilgrimage
but deep within the fervor was missing!!

Myopic yellow all over..
barren landscape coiled up in spiraled labyrinths...

With sickening forlornness, and overpowering delusion
that longed to see even a tiny speck of green
I looked down and then and felt it -
the gentle stir of a sprouting seed
right beneath my feet.
That gentle stir then became a tremor
shattering the confines of self exile,
In the middle of this desert
that fumed like an inferno
I felt the kindling warmth
that did melt down the stagnence
disguised as 'cool' dynamism.

Few more steps.......
Sprouting seeds and more specks of green
Cactus blossoms , desert storm subsides.
Bewildered and awe struck
I looked to my to my front.....
and then I saw that....
the vision beatific in all its glory...
What lay before me
as an endless expanse of dreary desert
now beckoned before me as
dazzling greenscape pulsating with life,
radiant with immaculate grace!
The hitherto blazing sun
rolled on with playful glee
on this endlessly unfurling carpet
gently covering the charred quick sands.

Where is the pain , gone.....!
Where is the loneliness, gone....!!
where is barrenness any more
when my interior landscape greened at once,
.....and where is desolation
when the mindscape greens!!

Drifting

by

Ajai Narendran

Aimless wandering
aimlessly pursued
Finds it's own goal
Somewhere beyond
The limits of intention.

Who Cares

by

Ajai Narendran

The warm beams of the setting sun
I catch and almost start to cry
because it is a painful fact that too little do I signify.
So be it, my seeking self can still be smart,
their objectivity is null.
But it won't console my craving heart
To still my passion's burning whirl,
unable is the thought that all are mortals-
even monuments will crumble and fall.
A monument_ The entire world glance like
will shrink into a dot and dive into one of those black holes ,
disappear and be forgotten and then_
spread out again_
so different that even the knowledge of it's ways
will mean no more than you or me!

Sleep Walk

by

Ajai Narendran

There are times when I get up
Half awake and walk
Into a fearful void
That lies between
the conscious and the unconscious.
Everything seems to be lost
In silence, in nothingness.
My mind rudderless drifts amok
Through the turbulent straits
Of perceptions and illusions,
Memories and thoughts.
Every moment the focus shifts
And the horizon widens_
No certainties, no endings!

Capsized

by

Ajai Narendran

Much like a tiny boat in a tempest
raised one moment on the foamy crest
of a bellow and dashed down
into the yawning chasm of the next_
a forlorn wreck just afloat in an ever raging,
ever rushing uncompromising
current of apparently spontaneous
outbursts of preset course of actions -
tributaries of the past.

I Shall wait

by

Ajai Narendran

I'm saying hello to you
can you hear me?
I await your appearance
ever and for ever more till the day
you come very near
and can hear my faint whisper.
I shall wait even if void
encompass all around
making the entire universe
devoid of even a single soul
and I'm left all alone.
Can you see me falling into the dark abyss,
can you see me soaring
above the lofty peaks
towards your light flickering afar...
You are taking me into and out of hell.
But, still I pursue for,
I know that
eventually you will take me out for ever!

Still Beyond My Reach

by

Ajai Narendran

You are always there tangible,
yet somehow unreachable
silently slipping away as ice melts in water.
Like the flower at the tip of the longest branch,
though I want Yet cannot reach..
fading into darkness
like the poem I meant to write!

Dilemma

by

Ajai Narendran

I know that
you waited for a call
that never came and a voice
that never said
I am sorry.
I know that I could have
made that call
and thawed the silence
that now runs an icy time. I
could have....
But I too waited
for a call that never came
and a voice that never said
I am sorry!

The Rdemption Song

by

Ajai Narendran

I remember_.
You took a handful of flowers
and placed it at the altar
with devotion, with innocence immaculate
with grace unbound
and acceptance abiding.

And now_.
I grieve!_.

I have shattered that edifice
with just one impulsive pounce
and a merciless blow
on all that was meant to be
built on these quick sands' domain
of delusions confined to
find an expression
in make believe acts of crafty defiance
disguised as acts of worship -
the rituals in the dark.

I refused_..I rebelled!
I now realize
how bad a ritualist I am!

I now see the homeless deity
bleeding bruised;
I now hear her silent sobs;
I now feel her fuming rage
and still feel her kindling warmth.
__and it is only now I read
the inscription on the wall
now scattered among the ruins_
" You see others as you see yourself"!

True, this is the truth,
the imperious reality!

Now I confide__.

For a fall guy like me,
the repeat offender I am,
there is only one way
out of this terrible debasement-
The way up - To ascent
to the depths of my heart.
But this time
I want it a different way,
the way I deem myself
truly worthy of !

So_
Now I implore you_.

Raise those very hands
that once placed the flowers,
grab a handful of rubble
from the ruins
and throw it on me
with disgust_with anguish,
let me be buried
in the wrath_
the wrath now I see as
the grace of redemption.

Let me lay buried
digging the dirt within
till I metamorphosise
into the one you see me as..
till I grow up to be
The one you want me to be_.
until I evolve into the one
I really am!

Waft down on me
Your gentle anguish fierce_
Only that breeze of grace
and the winds of change
will clear off the debris
and the quick sands too!!
Let me then bow out
and lay down myself
and slip into that sleep,
as I begin to sing my swansong ,
..let me sleep
unto a newer awakening
and resume singing my swansong.
Let it resound and echo
in the inner recesses
and dark labyrinths
we never dared to venture into.
In that silence, when silence begins to sing
You will perhaps realize
They were the hymns of worship
wrought out of mute agony.

_Let me be
buried
till I rediscover you
and recover myself_
I will_

__for,
I do believe in resurrection_.
The crowning glory
of burying the dead past.

The inferno of repentance
Will melt down
the coffin of iron soul cages
and I will emerge back into glory
redeemed, refurbished ..more humanized.

Till then let me lay buried....

Growing into more fullness,
if not perfection,
transforming my dormant
possessiveness into protectiveness,
desire to passion,
pride to modesty,
acceptance to adoration,
disillusions to dreams
and dreams to reality
_.let that harmony
resonate with my swansong
bequeathing you with
ever new songs of regeneration.
Till then
Let me lay
B-U-R-I-E-D!

Princess of the Desert

by

Ajai Narendran

There she stood....
looking both the sides of the platform...
at trains coming and leaving
perhaps not quite sure
of which one is arriving.
She came walking...
and then running
as the train groaned to a halt.
Gazed upon a dozen windows
at a glance..
and approached a few.
Turned off...spurn away....derided...
Yet, un deterred,
she came to my window as well.

Standing on her toes,
with one hand holding on to the window bars....
she just turned her head to the side,
looked straight into his eyes
and stretched her tiny palm wide open.
He just turned his face and gazed around....
she stretched out her hands again....
.frail hands_. like barren twigs
stretching out for alms
to the clouds that diverted their course.
Her sunken eyes ,
that had no gleam of childhood fancy
nor the gloom of self pity ,
still shone forth
through the gorge of unspoken agony
with the hope
of perhaps a meal at least today.

She smiled as she moved towards me.....

I made it sure that I've got enough change
for my local travel...
then placed a coin on her hand....
volatile kindness worth just one rupee
she clenched her fist_ and then smiled again_
a smile still remains enigmatic....
was it silent plea for a little help
was it her way of thanking_.

Or was it the dying down flutters
of her childhood's broken wings.

She turned back once
before she sped away...
and then i saw that:
on green tattered frock
these embroidered words
'princess of the desert'.
She sped away..
just fled away...
My child...
You came like a muse
and left me mute...
and a dim awareness
that hangs in blissful oblivion
still remains.....like us...
the princess of the desert
and pauper of the landscape.