Runaway Prayer

from around an old stone pillar,
it blinked into the sulphurous light,
just one, undone, slick with blood and tears,
they were still chanting when it ran,

a fugitive prayer, weaving through trucks and cars,
through mottled backseats, with broken stains of failure,
with the purple sweat of fear,
with yesterday’s hurried lovemaking,

at the traffic light, where a hollow battle tank
celebrates someone dying, someone living,
more supplications join, fluttering down from strings of flags,
from whirling wooden wheels,

a procession of invocations,
rising above the ruffled hem of the canopy,
under tombstones, the earth loosens folded hands,
trees unhook their boughs, scattering leaves,

a train rumbles through the bruised twilight,
the kneeling dusk stands, brushing gravelly sins off its pants,
all those prayers, now a gold rimmed cloud in a parallel sky,
here the night gyrates in a nylon chemise, the colour of absence.

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31 thoughts on “Runaway Prayer

    1. Wow..that’s interesting. Thanks Bjorn. Wasn’t thinking of that when I wrote the poem, but we live in times where war seems to be ever present somewhere or the other, so perhaps it seeps into what we write.

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  1. a train rumbles through the bruised twilight,
    the kneeling dusk stands, brushing gravelly sins off its pants,
    all those prayers, now a gold rimmed cloud in a parallel sky

    Gorgeous lines, Rajani ❤️

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  2. I hope it doesn’t get hit by a car. I love the when the trees unhook their boughs and scatter leaves.

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  3. Yes! It amasses and runs and at the very least we are lifted to watch it with all our senses and roots and arms. Wow! This is gorgeous and frightening. I particularly adore “the earth loosens folded hands” and “the kneeling dusk stands.” Well may the night gyrate is an apparent absence. But as more and more voices join, love will triumph. Thank you. And thank you for your comments on my search for “authentic prayer. ” It doesn’t get more real than this.

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  4. Wow, there are so many wonderful images here….I am most struck by the hands under the earth loosening, and the kneeling dusk brushing gravelly sins off its pants.

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  5. I seem to see something different in your poem that others….I see many prayers rising into the sky…forming a gold-rimmed cloud. And, for me, it is a beautiful and peaceful sight!

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  6. There is a lot here to digest, I found myself thinking of changing times and the sounds of war in a he backdrop. The poem left me feeling unsettled. A powerful burst of words to ponder 🙂

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  7. What a great read this was. How easy it was to picture the scenes described (and even invent some current situation for it to fit) culminating in those final words “the colour of absence”.

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