Jaacob Thomas

To An Old Dear Friend - Poem by Jaacob Thomas

Temple flowers bloom over your ashes-
a pure white blaze
in the light of that golden afternoon

Shards of memory but remain,
splinters from a time long past -
too few … too far between:

Your presence –well-nigh divine -
piercing through my fevered haze
raging unchecked.
And then..your touch-
cool …soothing.. unerring
guided by that unseen hand-
working its miracle of healing.

Then..in the cool of an evening -
pinioned in harsh beams I stand…
nervously mumbling callow inanities -
clutching at straws…
fervently wishing
the earth open and swallow me.
Suddenly –
drawn by a power beyond my ken-
my wild-eyed gaze falls on you seated there-
a smile-
so placid..so serene- lighting up your face..
..encouraging –nay- willing me to go on.

The final wisp of reminiscence-
the still of the night..
you there
rapt and entranced
as the music wells forth-
the melodies … exquisite… haunting …ethereal….

Time continues its onward march-
inexorable and relentless.
The seasons change-
the years reel by...
Stories of your healing
pass into myth....then sweep into legend-
to the sagas of your tilting at Fate..
staving off the Inevitable…
as you valiantly struggle
for the life of the Conscience of the Nation.

you soar away to glittering lands-
a mile high and a world wide.
And then alas the Fates decree
our paths should never cross..

Whose lot was it to be the prey
torn to shreds by crazed Furies -
to fulfill eerie pacts sealed by unknown ancestors,
at macabre rituals in sinister temples-
lurking in deep, dark forests …?

Was it yours?
snatched by Yama,
after a life full and noble-
breathing your very last
in that never-never-land
of cool verdant valleys,
nestling between snow-topped peaks…
through which swirls
the very purest of mountain airs..

Or ours? ..
caught in the vice-
living lives of quiet desperation,
striving to rise above the torpor and the futility
that mires us-
ever battling the demons within.

Or both? …..
first fruits
offered at the altar,
to propitiate a ravening Mephistopheles –
hungry for souls of innocents…

the only prayer to pass our lips,
as tears
bedew your ashes-
that your spirit find solace
here -by the bones of ancestors long-dead-
atop a barren tropical hillock –
a world away
from where your soul wafted past your lips.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, November 24, 2005

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