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  • M. Zaman

An Autograph from River’s Edge

Updated: Sep 27, 2020


"The lunatic, the lover and the poet

Are of imaginations all compact,

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,

That is the madman; the lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt;

The poet's eye, in a fine frenzied rolling,

Doeth glace from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives an airy nothing

A local habitation and a name."

(A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V, Scene 1, William Shakespeare)

A poet is a madman and a lover;

From heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

He is the one who sits on the river's edge

And glances into the ocean's depth;

He is the one who undresses naked and

Jumps into the murky water like a lover

A poet is a grand act and his poetry sublime!

An earthen poet creates the sublime, and

The sublime lifts him up - past the Kuiper and the Oort

To a distant repose of a distant star,

Where he sees the same reed of tall grass

Floating down the river in eternity's unknown.

A poet is a lover and a madman!

(Dedication: Love is the Song that Your Heart Sings)

One day when it was raining

A family of oak trees sheltered a human family from the storm

And they overheard them talking

When the storm was over, the little oak asked his father:

Father, what is love...

The father was wise

He had seen many years come and go

He knew many things and often expressed in long lectures

But this time his answer was short and simple

'Love is the song your heart sings'

(The above poem is a father’s day gift from the author's daughter when she was a 7th grader)

(On the River)

A reed of tall grass from the jungles of Amazon,

Still verdant floats in the river,

Floats in riverine time;

Does it?

I had a dream that a butterfly that

Gently wafts its colorful wings;

Wafting she drifts away and away into the

Infinite space;

Past the Oort and into the cosmic galore;

From there, from her repose at river's edge,

She sends her vibe

To a minuscule poet in this earthly abode of a

Trillion crickets...

A thousand years from today,

A daughter of this minuscule poet

May have her own universe in a capsule,

Full with its own sun and moon,

And its own river.


Some magical morning

She will pick up this floating reed;

Make a flute,

And adorn her most private nook,

A vase.

I have a dream that I am dreaming in a dream;

That the river that ends at the horizon

Is born anew in someone else's horizon;

Incarnadine autumn leaves fall in tears;

Enters a comet; its tail is frozen in rivers of water

From eons past...

And its head, insinuating through a prelapsarian space,

Circuitous and never-ending.

(Meandering at the River's Edge: I)

Of love and hope and endless sky of high up clouds,

Of rain and bird that sings the song of the best of paradise

That never was, but a blank book of verses, with verses

Blotted out by the nefarious hands of Godly pretense.

Time warps and cedars live for a thousand years to ink

The story of draughts and plenty, rivers swell and lovers

Walk dry-shod over the water into the edges of amorous

Pursuit, unbeknownst to the fact that a plectrum is nothing

But a plectrum until a celestial finger is there to pluck

The strings of an eternal lyre; with every stroke the lyre

Sends its doodles into the distant edges of a universe,

Still an embryo, still the laws of nature to be written.

The river flows into another river, the year ends into

Another year, time ends into time and then to nothing;

Mathematics of a nascent world is still to be laid out...

Fireflies lit my brain; the fly in frenzy, as if in a primordial

Soup of quantum jitter. Now tell me, dear, how do I

Count my ways, and how do I utter those primal words

Unto thee?

(Meandering at the River's Edge: II)

Let this be said that the universe is nothing more than

An empty zero, this cedar of one hundred sixty years, and the

Sun, and the quiet mornings on the Raquette River, and all

The early deceptions, fugacity of haptic love and ephemeral

Roses; the river of time - a game of mild, a brain marred

With a vision so blurred; the grammar of nature; of entropy;

Of deepest depression of Ludwig Boltzmann; of God... Ah!

This veined blue ball of ours, a grain of sand, wherefrom

Arises this mushy pounds of a magnificent mystery;

A mushy cryptogram of cosmic pensive... Ah! My mind

Meanders in long lost time, in torpid memories, in zero some

Fluctuations of my perturbed existence; of things,

Of the order of happenings; I woke up in the sun-soaked

Morning. I had a dream last night that I can't remember,

But I know that I had a dream. I saw my mother. I wept in her

Lap. My mother is dead, and my father - he is dead too;

Does time has a meaning or nothing but a blurred deception?

I am reduced.

Am I?

(Meandering at the River's Edge: III)

My mind meanders amongst the butterflies, deep in the

Garden soil, rich and fluffy - toils of myriad earthworms.

It is a gorgeous morning in the garden of Nebuchadnezzar

The radiant princess from Media spreads her fabulous tresses

In the morning sun. Frankincense and myrrh wet the air.

A little away in the bushes handmaid plays her lyre:

Songs of love, as if Sappho did not die of an intense seizure

Of love; enter a tiny titmouse, it flies in a frenzy, its tiny brain

Is lighted with hunger, flies topsy-turvy in an intense search for

A feed; an insect or a tiny morsel of grain;

The princess glanced at the tiny songbird; her eyes amazed;

The bird didn't care.

(Meandering at the River's Edge: IV)

And it was a dream:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look at my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains, Round the decay

Of the colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away." (P. B. Shelley)

Time has stolen the glorious garden of Nebuchadnezzar.

The tiny songbird still searches for an insect; time ingrained

In immortal memory. My mother is dead and my father too;

And here comes the firefly; its star-light-tail frozen in

Night's darkness; under the cedar tree whence the songbird

Sends its loveliest songs at my window pane; sleep;

And a dream emerges in the unfathomable depth of my

Neural nexus; amines and cholines dance like a fairy

Damsels; I exist; comes a star with seven earths and an

Earth with seven moons, from the fragrance of a

Madeleine Cookie rises the memory of Combray;

Time regained; an array of long-lost flavors slide by

Like a moving kaleidoscope; a train of distant time

Awakens Marcel, through a thousand years and a thousand

Pages, he meanders through moonlit alleys; fireflies gather

In thousands...

(Meandering at the River's Edge: V)

Sauntering along the twilight edges,

I felt a tiny movement on my unkempt hair;

A violent swat, my hand and my hair is splattered

With a fluorescent luminescence;

I just killed a firefly.

'Give it an understanding but no tongue'

Immersed in a soft sadness, I felt overwhelmed.

My thoughtless hand and my raven hair,

Momentarily though, shined with a deathly

Luminescence; may be killers of every hue,

Be a soldier or a lowly murderer

Do what they do

Just to glow a little braver and a little brighter

For a single moment...

This puny little business of 'living-of-life'...

Ah! My heart yearns to be left alone in its own repose.

A few lively fireflies, uncertain of their own destination,

Fly in frenzy; soaring pine stands tall and lonely;

The wind blows soft on grassy undulations;

There is a murmur, yet a pervading sense of silence

Is plastered into the night's darkness.

Beyond the briers and thoughts of petty discourse

I just wanted to sit under the gay moon and

See my soul grow taller than the Loblolly pine

As the moon declines in the horizon.

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