Friday, January 7, 2011

Lost and Found

...also to Anne Taintor for her special brand of genius!
I had been desperately looking for a piece of paper over the last couple of years. You see, while I was studying for my Masters, someone I knew gave me a faded copy of an excerpt from some magazine. At that time -- and sans regular access to the Internet and the Googling skills I was to acquire a few years later -- I had no idea where it was from, or who had originally written it. All I knew was that it spoke to me. Of course, I also had no idea at that time that the person who gave it to me was also trying to whisper certain intentions my way, but that's another matter altogether. I try not to dwell on such things, except in moments of extreme introspection about some of the choices I made much later in life...especially the ones that came back to bite me in the whatsitcalled.

I found it today. Rummaging through years-old junk at my folks' place, determined to clear the cobwebs of transgressions past, I was busy tearing up papers, letters and bagging a whole lot of whatnot when, much to an almost teenage glee, I found that scrap of paper. And realised that though a whole lot had changed, those words still managed to get under my skin, albeit for different reasons altogether.

Now, at that time, all I knew was that some strange phenomenon, who signed off as ' Oriah Mountain Dreamer' had coaxed simple words into a seductive and spooky distillation of "The Great Search" that all of us embark on at some point or the other in our lives. As for me, I don't know why, but for the last few years, every other month I would start looking around for that scrap of paper -- compelled by an inexplicably overwhelming need to find it. Not that its discovery -- or even its continued elusiveness -- could have altered the course of my life in any earth-shattering way; still, I'm glad that at least one search is over. Now, on to other things. Also I can finally pay my due regard to the author who, I now know, surely doesn't need an endorsement from me.

A lot of things have  happened over the last couple of years. I have touched, in the words of Adlai Stevenson II, the "helm of heaven" and been down to the dark pit and back. But even as gravity makes it difficult for us mere mortals to stay up forever, I -- like one of them little skittle dolls -- find it fundamentally difficult to stay down. So, here's an old hope from a forgotten drawer...for new beginnings. Happy New Year and all that.

The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

As for me, it is only when I turn away from the familiar and confront the demons inside, do I realise how much I owe my beseiged solitude.

4 comments:

  1. it is a wonderful piece.
    no wonder you went looking, you needed it.

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  2. @Bedi: yes, definitely worth the efort.

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  3. Amazing! thanks.

    If it's not copyrighted, I would like to copy it and paste it on my FB page for friends to read

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  4. @Ritika: I've given the link to the author in the post for the poem...you can mention this...as for any of the rest of the blog, iss all mine, so if you use THAT, do post my link and name and of course that is copyrighted :)

    ReplyDelete