You are fire

You are fire long poem

As a volcano, you erupt without notice,
burning every stone down to its true state.

As the third eye, you open suddenly,
burning every mask down to its true face.

You are not the angel
who descends from heaven with a halo,
with a beatific smile.
you are the fire that rises from the ground
to swallow the very angles,
to bring them to earth as ashes,
as other things true to the touch.

My love, to those who come to you
with their past and pains, you may be the fire of boghi
receiving them in your lap, reviving them.

My love, to those who come to you
with their fears and desires, you may be the fire of yagna
receiving them in your bosom, consoling them.

But to me, you are the moon.
yours is the body of yellow flames
that burns and burns, purifying me every single night.

Remember, my love?

Remember, how I came to you
with a heart full of dark tunnels?
you filled them with your gentle light.
now, my heart is open as the hearth.

Remember, my love?

Remember how I came to you
with a mouth full of dead words?
you filled them with your fiery silence.
now, words fly as sparks from my mouth.

remember, my love?
remember?

As the stone that needs another,
to realise its own fire, I needed you.

you stirred the coals that lay cold
in my throat, with your hot breath
and my tongue emerged as the flame,
seeking your body, to taste it, to make it its own.

you lit a single tree that stood silently
in my heart, with your warm caresses
and it spread as forest fire,
passing from tree to tree,
till my whole body was ablaze,
till my hand emerged as the flame,
seeking your body, to touch it, to make it its own.

now, I meet your fire with fire, all night.
now, we are like two strong soldiers,
fighting to fight, till we fall back exhausted as ashes.

this then my love, is what I wanted to tell you,
you are fire. so that you know.
so that you live as fire.

as bonfire or as a ball of fire.
as the sun itself, driving out nights.

but, you need me still!
but, you need me still!

on a night of storms and thunder,
when you flicker as the flame,
you need me to close over you with my two hands.

you need me still.

on a night of complete black-out,
when you hide as the candle,
you need me to find you with my lover’s eyes.

you need me still.

on every single night,
as the lamp needs a god or a student
to go on burning, you need me.

you need me still.
you need me still.

boghi – hindu festival. symbolic of a new beginning. old clothes are thrown into the fire.
yagna – a hindu ceremony in which god is invoked through fire, to get the wishes granted.

This poem is part of the Poetry Book Oblivion

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Balaji Gopalan

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I owe all of my poetry to the influence of Pablo Neruda. Reading him 10 years ago on the beaches of Goa, gave me the permission to be who I am and write what I feel. My poetry has never been the same after that. All that I write is an offering to Neruda.
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