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A Fistful Of Stars: Are You Saraswati

Hariharan Balakrishnan questions the force, the muse, which compels him to shape words into poems.


Why do you come to me, my muse
At this hour in time?
The noon is past, the sun has set
I am in twilight zone
The penumbra of life
Now- why have you come?

Autumn has gone, and winter is on
Spring is far away
Only to be chased away by summer
With no twilight- only day
Even that summer is farther away
Tell me now- why have you come?

I sought you not, I know you not
I never knew that you would come
To hold my hand, a gentle guide
To lead me on and on
To write, to sing, to hum and see
Who are you, my muse?

There was a time- yes, there was a time
When I had you in all of me
Then you did not have to come
A part of me? I knew it not
As I do not know my tongue
That stands not in front of me!

Move on, Muse- claim another
I fear I am not the same
As you think I was
Maybe I was- but now am I
At all worthy of You?
But you gave it to my lips

I spoke those words and asked for help
And help did come- in fits and starts
I feared those words would be lost
For all time to come- for all
In the ebb and flow of Time
Some words were lost, but only a while
Like the shells on Puri beach
But today you sat on in my mind
A mind worthier than the tongue?


Last night when I was trying to sleep
Close to the midnight hour
You sat on my lips and shook me awake
Opening wider my unclosing eyes
And asked me to write some words

My aching limbs and creeping languor
Did not make you give up on me
Itís I who wanted to give you up
I had no strength in me
Now, itís for you to open Your tongue

More words have come to my mind today
Why do you sit on my tongue and mind?
To make these words come out of me
Like sands of grain on an ocean shore?
Are you Saraswati?

If indeed you are, I've seen you before
You never change your benign smile
Nor the bright sari you wear
You never changed your face
I am not worthy of Thee


*Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of Learning and Music


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