Swamy Venkatayogi

Sanduka* - Poem by Swamy Venkatayogi

You are always like that.

Whenever we meet,
You ask me to take that
Old ‘Sanduka’ from the past

Whenever it is out,
I always worry that
The dust on it may be wiped out
And our childhood will be lost.

When it opens
With a rickety old creak,
I am reminded of
Grandmother’s fond yearning
When she caressed and asked
‘Did you have your food? ’

The hyacinths that traveled
From country to town in an
Old rinky-dink bus,
Blossom every corner of the house.

Color faded feathers,
Dried chrysanthemum petals,
Splintered wings of golden insects..

The pieces of pottery
That we tossed around on the childhood

The coverless books
Aging into dark colors!

One or two half torn hand-outs –

Like our village’s pond
That not too often overflows
With the rain that rarely pours down!

‘It’s all over! Everything is over! ! ’

You take out the
Dilapidated books
With crumbled fragile papers –
One by one,

And say
‘These words are obsolete now,
These writings are anachronous –
Erase them all! ’

The underlined sentences
That breathed fire into us –
The dog-eared pages,
The notes in the margins –

A very familiar
New fragrance
Rising in layesrs
Engulfs us
From the bottom of the ‘sanduka’.

When you feel it with your cheek,
The coarse softness of the Sand
From beneath the warm waters of a stream
Caresses you with immense affection.

‘Don’t know where he is –
Not a trace! ’

Father’s longing
Behind his old shattered glasses
Remains an everlasting image in these
Tear smeared eyes.

The past moments from these pages
Inundate us like the
New tamarinds that falls from
The branches with a whisk of the wind!

‘How can we erase? ’

What has become part of our palms?

How much ever faded they are
How can we throw them out?

Our colorful passions of our
Early adolescence –

How can we separate?

The ‘sanduka’ that’s amalgamated as
A beautiful corner of our home –

We shall carefully refold our past selves
And preserve in the ‘sanduka’.

Whenever filled with an
Insurmountable grief
Having lost something very dear,
‘sanduka’ is sure to give us a
Shoulder to rest on!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, July 23, 2010

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