Dirge on the fifth morning

there is no dry in incessant rain
on the fourth night the deluge fills your stomach
skin dissolves, drowning the last barrier,
you are the edgeless lake, you are shadowless rain,
you are the mother that seeded the cloud,
the daughter orphaned to the thirst of the sea,
you are a single drop shattering in grief,
you are the dark cosmic wave on which
sails the bright lie of creation

you hover, neither on land nor in the sky —
see, sorrow has trajectory, weight,
immeasurable pain can be measured by the spoonful,
but this stillness, this suspension,
this, they tell me, is the culmination of human feeling,
to feel nothing, except breath,
or its lack,
this, they say, is mindfulness, touching time
on the inside, touching the universe
on the outside,
the moment soaked,
its belly distended,
its water fecund, birthing distortions

the monsoons overlap
the soil gags
the rocks grind against fallen sky
precipitation is a stranger’s joy
the perversion of air tells a story
of the myth of sunshine
the wet, a raging minotaur,
the light, a prince trapped in a labyrinth,
inside a moment
inside a cloud
inside a lake
the rain, a sinner,
a penance, a discordant lover


It has been raining a lot, the south-west monsoon followed by the north-east monsoon with hardly a break. But grey clouds teach you to appreciate even mellow, liquid sunshine. Or the rain brings poetry of the sort that a summer’s day can only dream of. There are silver linings, if you look long enough…or if you stop looking! Do you see more rain, more aggressive rain in your region – because of climate change?

14 thoughts on “Dirge on the fifth morning

  1. The single drop shattering in grief, and the dark cosmic wave……such powerful imagery! Rajani, this topic hits home hard here, where we just received ten inches of rain in 24 hours, flooding cities (three of them evacuated), destroyed and closed all main highways, and causing huge landslides – 275 people had to be rescued by helicopter, trapped between two landslides. And this is the START of winter! Mother Nature stuns us with her power. Do you think governments will get the message YET that target dates of 2050 for lowering emissions are ludicrous? Your poem is powerful and so well written and it is lovely to read you. So happy to see you at earthweal.


  2. The imagery here just blew me away:

    ‘you are a single drop shattering in grief,
    you are the dark cosmic wave on which
    sails the bright lie of creation’

    I wasn’t sure what to write for this challenge, and now I’m still not, as you already wrote it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Rajani, welcome back to earthweal … in this unfolding age, one part of the world drowns while the other withers in drought. Both poles define the labyrinth we’re in (or the minotaur’s anger). The inundation here is a terrifying monotonous patter in rising waters: The incessant plague. It was said that the key to the labyrinth was to change direction decisively in the middle–up and out toward light. Your “mindfulness, touching time on the inside, touching the universe on the outside” — is a pregnancy of that golden light. No matter how much it rains. It takes a lot of poetry to make that turn. Good work and thanks so for sharing here.


  4. So embodies all the emotions this weather has brought forth. Your words bring forth the contrasts that we have seen these past few days with effortless ease..How much we appreciate this watery sunshine…lifts the gloom of the dreary days…and keeps us from falling into an abyss of despair….Great writing Rajani!


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