The Green Visions

From farthest East, or more precise
The forests vast on India’s breast,
Rose hymns of wisdom that never dies,
The words of knowledge, forever best.

Those hymns were born from wisest hearts,
As throats would trill in sombre shades;
They only knew th’ eternal arts,
Recondite, not for all the grades.

The master and the pupils sat,
Beneath the trees, jolly wet and green,
And ethos immortal told thereat
To skilful students, pure and clean.

And when in sadness once I lay,
I visioned a couple in a rainy day–
A couple of peacocks dancing, gay,
Aloft they held their wings to sashay;

Through the boggy grounds of wood,
With graceful gesture strolled and rushed,
In rainy rapture, in merry mood;
There nature all her treasure stashed.

The new-born leaves were greatly glad,
As pure clouds gave purer drops;
No man, no green seemed to be sad,
With consummate joy were born the crops.

In cottage learnt an ancient monk
Rudimentary scriptures old,
Wherein his entire psyche sunk,
They could esoteric laws unfold.

In hideous thunder then aloud,
Penetrating earth and his heart,
In untold passion a thund’rous cloud
Cried and made this world inert.

But stately was that hermit wise,
Unshaken, unafraid was he,
No omen did he in this surmise,
No wonder even dared to see.

This to him His holy wrath,
With which verdurous plants survive,
The sacred sap that heaven hath,
Nurtures His children, silent, naive.

Three score years, I think, he lived,
With hoary experience of earth,
And myriad times his bosom heaved,
In angst and fear and woe and mirth.

All that hoary hair and beard,
And furrows deep on face too old,
Perhaps with him stayed and shared
The agonies of drought and cold.

With another saint, he thought he played
In boyhood free from many a guile
That wicked men oft loved to trade,
And gifted honour thus to defile.

But could he not recall this mate,
The closest mate of infancy days,
That once possessed a similar trait,
Found these wise men different ways.

He from home once away ran,
He thought this mortal life and world
Mean and stale for home of man,
‘Wards greater world his eyes unfurled.

Two of his pupils with him went,
Decided to roam this earth across,
To know mankind or whate’er God sent,
Through fields and towns and peace and chaos.

No one knew where were they now,
How old became as the woodland sages,
But I know well no less did flow
The wisdom in the forests for ages.

There jovial birds hither and thither
Flew and flew in rainy season,
In gloomy green and lush weather,
Sang so sweet without a reason.

The hymn that knew an ancient saint
Whereof have talked beforehand I,
Had neither a blemish nor a taint,
It told not any kind of lie.

He imparted it to an earthly child,
A young disciple living nearby,
Lest be he deceived and guiled,
In profane kingdom, wicked and sly.

Once when he slept with his lonely mother,
At night in some warm month, happy,
A burglar poor managed to slither
Into a cottage serene and tiny.

Stealthy, stealthy, to inside enter,
He came somewhere from the rear side,
Where stood old trees higher and higher,
And shrubs obscured the vision wide.

Thence cautiously with no pattering sound
He pushed the door and made no clack,
Whereby the two in no way found
This burglar, and he smiled aback.

A springtime attire and scripture sacred,
Given by that hearty hermit,
Were kept beside his wobbly bed,
Thither he tiptoed bit by bit.

Then plonked his fingers on these things,
And danced his heart in wily joy,
Amongst them was that holy hymns,
That must him tomorrow much annoy.

In similar art he slowly fled,
With things that seemed of meagre use
To wealthy sons, well learnt and clad,
But were his lovely joys and hues.

That young lad was very fond
Of his who gifted him another book,
And a seasonal dress that donned
The blithesome boy that knew no crook.

That book to him was precious much,
But eremites it needed not,
Their heart was suffusèd such
With wisdom from their heaven got.

There was a brook the woods beside
Where swam and splashed many a swain,
Merrily would he there glide,
Carefree with his mates had lain.

At noon no student languor had,
As bathed and fed on pure herbs,
All paid attention, and that lad,
Were clothed in sanctimonious garbs.

Then sages earnest begin to teach
Attentive pupils inflected nouns,
And many a time mere boys beseech
Again to recount and not to flounce!

And verbs that plenteous morphemes catch,
Their similar siblings but the tail
E’er differs to perfectly match
The doer’s verdict, very frail;

Frail, yea, for soon whenas it would
Take another master who
Decide the making of its brood,
Thence the pupils gain a clue.

Thus day by day in ancient tongue
Evolved well-versed these boys white-clad
Beneath green canopies where hung
Sweetest fruits and flowers all glad.

And when the old seers grew senile
On adolescents was the burden
To recite the rules of grammar while
He took his seat amidst a garden.

These gardens were of more delight
To men of wisdom, and children alike
A myriad-branchèd tree with its height
Immense, stood at the centre within its rike.

Its sturdy roots have no one seen,
For it was under the bulk of clay,
Lay hidden since the birth, I ween,
Of e’en the sage, wisest and grey.

On elevated pulpit sate
The teacher, and his loved boys
Down sate themselves and were they eight,
On tender green where reached no noise.

From woods to rills soft breezes scud,
And thence to valleys beyond their ken
Whereat if mellower flowers bud
Or lies deserts know not these men.

None but an eagle, a prophet bird,
Could tell them the world beyond
And this hilly hamlet did he guard,
Whereof the saints were amply fond.

He hither sate and thither sate
Upon all the tropical trees,
Been thriven there for longest date,
But ne’er did a native creature seize.

For he was wondrous, he was holy,
On gifts of nature would he fed
And purer shrubs he took in glee
Than normal people on his bed,
That high adorned with twigs and brush
Lay on a niche and strewn with grass.

There couched in honour descrieth he
All heaven, vales from highest bough,
And ‘neath the huts doth keen he see,
And far there seeth men to plough.

He loveth him who toileth hard,
For his own sake and all his kin,
And every warbler revere this bird,
With their sweet throat themselves demean.

Yonder tills the fallow rock
Workers, Diligent all day,
And aid them their humble flock,
The trouble ta’en so as to stay,
With meat and milk of redundant store,
Men sacrifice they their life for.

Fleecy lambs oft run astray,
And everywhither frisk and play,
Till shepherd boy doth blow his flute,
And hails them back to his pursuit.
Whenas shroudeth dusk the fields,
The goad he straitly for them wields
Toward enclosure throng his flock,
Climbing Many a ridge and rock.

Slow and slow then Night below
Percheth the lakes and woods with her claw
Upon the eyen, by sweet toils faint,
Of all a layman and all a saint.

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Sarban Bhattacharya

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The spurt of corporeal pleasure is like a restive brooklet that falls into the serene but colossal ocean of peaceful rapture of mind.
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