by Dilip Mohapatra (September 2016)
When I was in class four
I got my first ever summon
to appear before it and was
ordained to write my very first poem
for the school magazine
and in my innocence and ignorance
I searched for some wisdom
that perhaps was as chaste
and immaculate as a virgin.
As I ambled on the school lawn
I trampled on few grass flowers
crushing them to a pulp
but there was a sharp pain in my heart
as if a dagger has just sunk its blade into it
and off comes out my first ever poem
talking about the humility of
the grass flower
which perhaps was created to be trampled
and in its death
giving the soothing satin comfort to
the painful corns on the calloused feet.
Poetry continues to seek me out
and always finds me
wherever I may be
in whatsoever vocation
I may be engaged with
whether while walking aimlessly
on dilapidated streets
or sitting under a lone tree
on the river banks in the small hours
or jostling in an overcrowded local train
or going in circles on a carousel in a fair
for I am its chosen boy
from the day I succumbed to its wish
and charges me with tasks
that I so very willingly accomplish.
It eggs me on to take a walk
on the Milky Way on tight ropes
sanctified in celestial company
to dive into the craters of raging volcanoes
and burn out my dirts
to take holy dips and explore
the endless abyss of oceans
and come out cleansed
to be blown away by the winds both hot and cold
in resonance with my breaths.
It teaches me to see with my eyes blindfolded
to hear with my ears muffed
to touch and heal with the fingers of my heart
to decipher the spirits of my soul
and continues to summon me
off and on without respite
and in each of my surrender
I come out cleaner and purer
after repeated distillations
never seeking bail to be set free
returning to my dreary existence once a while
expectantly waiting to be summoned
again and again.
Dilip Mohapatra (b.1950), a decorated Navy Veteran started writing poems since the seventies . His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute worldwide. Some of his poems are included in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 and 2014 Editions. He has four poetry collections to his credit published by Authorspress India, and one non-fiction, a book of wisdom titled Points to Ponder. He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management Studies. He lives with his wife in Pune. His website may be accessed at dilipmohapatra.com.
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