Autumn Muse

(Kashmir Valley)

Under the Chinar tree the shadows can
now map the contours of tiny cruelties,
screen every breath but the Jhelum river
with its soft palms crumbles the mystery
and silence one by one.

The deadly real and sublime fantasy
infect each other over the years
and there are no whole stories,
yet it’s a place of solace for the
survivors counting years and centuries.

Behind the mountains the light is
spreading and the ageing valley is
baked into a libretto,
red and purple flowers drink
the morning blood in mystic silence!
white lilies in the Dal lake
resonate only the solitude!

Every stone is a story teller in Lalchak
and stubborn enough to talk about
the empty nest of the birds, bullets
and unbelievable sobs

The autumn wind drums in the night
in repressed anger and in the distance
the stars bunch on the very edge
of the bank lulled by the swash
and welters of the falling leaves.

Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator with 29 books published, including eight solo/jointly edited books. His poetry and prose are published across more than seventy journals and anthologies globally. His poems are translated in 16 languages. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2021. He has received Setu Excellence Award, Pittsburgh, US, in poetry. He is the first recipient of. Jayanta Mahapatra National Award for Literature, 2024. Read other articles by Gopal.