Do Not Weep Lonely Mirror - Poem by Deepa Agarwal
The mirror in which I sought myself once
sought me in turn, when spurned,
its emptiness grew too vast for it to face.
Emptiness, that black hole into which we must fall
each one of us. The mirror pursued me
even as I fled it
time’s wrinkles embedded deep in the
coils of my being. I fled the truth
imprinted on its shining glass.
The truth of countless lies
that rustled like the fugitive wings of birds
evading the trapper,
not knowing how futile my flight. Because
the world might be large
but mirrors are everywhere. And truth,
the chameleon, finds many places to hide itself.
In the starlit eyes of a lover perhaps…
the trusting warmth of a child’s palm,
the adrenaline burst of the winning post,
or the murky pool of failure. Even in
the flashing pane of a neighbour’s window
or the reckless flow of your pen across a page.
I could not escape, and yet how long is it
since I have known that the face in the mirror
is not my own. Not the girl who wept in the dark
once. Or boarded a train on a winter morning,
basking in the sun’s warmth.
The woman who found babes in the wood
under a coverlet of fallen leaves
or listened to the urgent summons of a conch
bellowing in the dark behind hidden doors.
Who knows where it is, the face I would call my own
if not in the mirror that faces me?
It is enough that it exists.
Whether flowing secretly in the veins of a leaf,
blowing in the dust of a storm,
or gleaming in a sunset cloud…
So, do not weep lonely mirror
Nothing is as complete as emptiness
Nothing as loud as the silence that speaks.
(2004, New Delhi)
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