2 minutes reading time (323 words)

The Quetzal in my dreams

(i)

I remember the dream, before the birth,

how gently the soul breathed

silken strands of magic sleep

spun on sensuous songs, with

crystal-clarity and the eye turned inward

to the eye;

The sifting of jewels

the selecting of silks,

''Fine feathers make finer birds''

-only, peacocks strut and honk,

strangled cat-calls-

somewhere, they say,

shapes that shimmer change, transform, transcend,

Troubadours of Amazon forests,

small birds circle in homage,

dappled green, the emerald is my stone, verdant and strange,

stones dancing in the Palais Royale;

The Quetzal is a sacred bird!

 

(ii)

They were the musicians of motionless sleep;

They knew the softness of the deep,

Blue sapphires dyed the ocean shores

I washed my hands in pearls-

The partridge sang in the pear tree.

she sighed to think of bracelets three,

those I did not give her, but planned to,

on her wedding day;

The stag bellowed his cynical call-

the old owl in my attic thought it queer

but refrained from rocking the boat,

so I tossed pebbles on the shores

and Capuchin monkeys clambered trees;

Often, I have seen the does,

those dancing on carpets in delight,

waltzes, polkas and quadrilles,

white feet and jingling bells,

bodies bent, steady and slim,

diamonds on fire, burnt to crisp,

Eternity winked in some eyes-

the violins launched in rhetorical tirades,

Do you think so, indeed?

 

(iii)

My bouyancy sinks me

when bees sup on blossoms;

I wind my way, as fishes taught me,

to and fro, hither-thither, willy-nilly-

it's nearly morning in the abyss of delight;

Innocence knows no halting paces; it dances

as she does, while I fall and clutch

at passing fancies;

A liana snaps, behold the charlatan dies;

I had seen it in slow motion, when men died in dreams,

as they did in reality.

For the Quetzal is a sacred bird...

 

 


Originally published in Ravi magazine , GCU, Lahore, 1988 ; republished in the collection ‘A Sad Piper’ 1994

Fledgling wings in summer
Geese

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