Carnal Hunter - Poem by Homen Thangjam
The place has not changed.
Meadow atop the hillock
Alongside the murmuring brook
And trees as old as my ancestors
None have disappeared.
The ancient oak tree
In the middle of the meadow
Still stands, tall and majestic.
Underneath, we took refuge one night.
The autumn wind
Seemed to have stirred us
There was madness in the air.
We’d never spoken to each other
Except for the looks we exchanged.
Your eyes, it was your eyes, which
Ruffled and made me yearn.
It was the fateful night
Folks from your village
Gathered for the harvest festival
And dances raged on.
Flooding crowd could not drown us.
You looked at me, absorbing me.
I’d to take you away
It was the only thing I could do for you.
By the rhythmic movements of the svelte maidens
Were too mesmerized to notice our absence.
You followed me, inhaling my scent
Thinking perhaps, I’d be lost forever.
From the meadow we saw
Silhouette of the celebration ground
Amidst black canopies of trees.
Could feel your pounding heartbeat
You’re trembling, yet, did not stop me.
Marvelled at your skin
Smooth as glass.
On your perspired moonlit face was serenity
And in your eyes, the hunger.
We’re two uninhibited souls
Consummating the seething desire
Merged and throbbing in waves of exaltation.
We felt as if we've been waiting
For each other for eons, two halves
To complete the circle of life.
The clouds knowingly obscured the moon
Veiling us from creatures of the night.
Soothing autumn breeze caressed us
And the faraway music gave us rhythm.
Countless stars exploded inside me.
The earth shook, melted with the stars.
I’d feel you shudder, too.
We let escape string-like moans
Simultaneously, as if timed to synchronize
The warm human release
Curled, and broke the silence of the night.
You’re blissfully beautiful.
Complete stillness, as if
Heaven and earth had stopped breathing
Lest, they disturb
The union of two souls.
And shooting stars blazed in the sky
Celebrating our ecstasy
For a love so divine, yet, so unknown.
We gazed at the lazy moon
The moving flimsy clouds
Dome of stars and showers of the shooting stars.
The murmuring brook sang in tune
With the faraway dancing beats
By cries of the crickets.
You neither asked my name
(Nor did I)
My whereabouts or
Of my sojourn in the village.
Just contented to be in my arms.
All you said was:
“Be the oak tree of my life”, and
Pointed at the age-old oak tree.
In evanescing guilt of submission
How I wished
I’d change my destiny.
Wanted the autumn wind
To blow away my miseries
And freeze with the impending winter.
Had it not been for the vow
I’d have taken you away
Far away, beyond the silver mountain range.
Wanted to be the oak tree for you
Standing tall, majestic and rooted.
How I wished
I’d cut the rope of fate
Free myself from the bindings of allegiance
Escape from the watchful eyes of my ancestors
And live in a reason that’s you.
Gunshots roused me from the delirium
Frantically searched for my handset.
A helpless leader, that’s me unable to stop
Surge of a marauding pack of avengers – my brothers.
Since the day our land was taken over
We’ve been tempering our swords in vengeance.
Redemption to be sought in blood
And release the spirits of our ancestors
From the caged humiliation of defeat.
The strategist was me, chose the night
Knew the defence of your village
Would be slack in vigilance
In drunken moods of celebrations. Above all
Victory has made your tribe proud
And the memory short, for
Memories stay with the vanquished, not with the victors.
Could visualize my own strategy in action.
Columns of camouflaged avengers
Emerging from the ravines
Surrounding the village
Torching the houses from each ends
Indiscriminately firing and beheading
Alert, agile and savage
No time given to the enemies to retaliate
Scream, escape or organise.
Not a single life to be spared
None to be left to complete the last rites
Or mourn for the departed souls
Or even to seek revenge.
In blood we took the oath
So shall be the payback in blood, guess
My insatiable ancestors smiled from heaven.
From the meadow
We watched the blaze
Balls of roaring fire lit up the horizon.
Screams of the victims vibrated the planet.
Saw the fear in your eyes
And the hatred, too.
Could not level my eyes to yours
Afraid, I be called a carnal hunter, and
Your eyes, reveal my identity
Strip bare my soul, take away you from me.
Slaughter continued the whole night.
The village was razed to the ground.
Headless bodies replaced
The merry making folks.
We’re the modern head hunters, except
We ravaged the bodies of the victims.
Underneath the oak tree we took refuge.
Wanted to protect you
Could not abandon you for “duty”
Disdained the war of honour.
Your hysterical sobs pierced me like blistering spears.
You cried, not for the losses
But in the dawning realization
I was one of your ancestral enemies.
In shame and revulsion, you covered your body
Ashamed to be naked
In front of a 'false' oak tree, which
My being symbolised.
The stars seemed to understand you
Beckoned the moon behind the swirling smokes.
Black shadow engulfed us
Solace and mercy merged with the blackness.
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