I have always had a fascination for the hard stone walls of OG. Here is an awkward ode to them:

Tender fingers
caress me,
stone,
unyielding.
Projections, troughs,
hard with the ages,
cushion like, soft.
Mute, yet vocal,
whispering back,
a thousand tales.
July tears, smudged,
by August rains.
What is joy?
What is pain?
Wickets to some,
for some just quotes,
illuminating,
struggles ahead.
Rings on some,
echoing shuffling feet,
the age of Ali,
the float of a butterfly,
the sting of a bee.
The rounds won thus,
innocence lost.
Escapades of youth,
by lesions marked.
A few on me,
deeper on them,
surgical, sculpting,
imperfect and human.
Such is my vigil,
so is my being.

I have seen them all,
the few who come back.
Some who perish,
for battles of others,
some humbled,
pensive, a shadow
of themselves,
unbroken.
A few others,
shine brighter still.
The spirit,
radiating,
through the familiar,
touch. Very much like,
I am their past.
Teachers,
older than the trees,
grazed against me
once, as strapping young men.
They stand by now,
and speak to me,
wizened and grey,
as legends.
I hear them
chuckle, sigh,
as my edges hurt,
those calloused hands,
Yes, the same,
that shaped,
a thousand lives.
I will become them,
they will, me.
Such is my vigil,
and so is my being.

– Manoj Panikkar (1991)


This poem was posted by Manoj Panikkar on  June 13, 2019 on the Oak Grove School, Mussoorie page on Facebook. This is his second contribution to Oakgrovians Young & Old.

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