And This Way

I wake up with the aftertaste
of shinrin-yoku on my skin,
the reverberation of a dream
that pretends I breathe free
in the urban jungle,
where all the possible green
has been shoehorned
into a corner of my balcony
as one pot of withering yellow portulacas
that I cannot remember to water,

what of these dreams that fancy
they are Khayyam,
…a jug of wine, a loaf of bread- and thou…
when they are only rusty signboards
on a city road, pointing to a garden
that is now a hollowed construction pit
its hands impaling the smog gowned sky,
unfulfilled reality like yellow sweat stains
in its neon lit armpits,

the concrete city is a broken shower head,
the brackish water dripping from its pores
like neglected flowers,
inviting me in to bathe,
to scrub the last of the ancient quatrains
from my wilderness weary eyes,
asphalt trails blinking in the stubborn monsoon sun,
this way, this way
and this way- to paradise.

shinrin-yoku: forest bathing
“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”.
(Omar Khayyam- the Edward Fitzgerald Translation)

37 thoughts on “And This Way

  1. We walk our dog every day in a park that has kept its forest. When I learned the term shinrin yoku awhile back, I knew immediately what deep meaning it held. I feel as if I can’t breathe well on the days we can’t go. A beautiful poem, Rajani!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a desert-dweller, I wonder if I will ever have “wilderness weary eyes.” I guess I’ll find out as my desert sojourn continues!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. But please keep the Rubaiyat and the portulacas–every little bit helps us breathe. It may not get you to paradise, but there are some mighty pleasant stops along the way.


  4. Sometimes the city does appear this way. To some though the city is safe haven where all their needs are met. However that is not the world which has many varied facets and is there to delight us when we need.


  5. I’ve lived in that concrete jungle and now live in the desert. I must travel to forests. But more importantly I must treasure their luscious green and internalize that fertile ground.
    I love your descriptive combination of words.


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