the quiet padding
of fingers on a drum
. . . patrolling nurse
Still fatigued, I wake at first light. The television is running. Perhaps you were watching it. By my bed is an empty pallet. Did you tiptoe off to catch an auto rickshaw? Scrounge a dosai and some chai?
On my screen the day is waking, accompanied by the credits of an early morning raga. A TV camera is tracking the sun’s passage.
a yellow-billed babbler
As I float drowsily, a drone glissades into the room. Dewy buds begin to open as the alapana unfolds, sung with a vocal flexibility that I could only dream of. Each note emerges from its shadows into the waiting day. Now and then the lens pauses on a single bloom, opening into the brilliance, as if to beckon bees.
Perhaps life is a raga, with its laboured beginning and speedy finish. But I’ve been given a reprieve. Concealed in dawn’s cadence, the poet saints have been keeping watch. Each note I inhale vibrates a blessing from Guruguha, the great master of healing. The pain has drifted off. My lungs are clear. The Ganga banks are far away.
. . . and there is light
the artist’s paint pot
raga: an Indian melody; kriti: a South Indian classical song; alapana: unaccompanied introduction to a raga
Hazel Hall is a Canberra Poet. She has published haiku, tanka and free verse in a number of Australian and overseas journals and anthologies. Her latest collections are Eggshell Sky (2017). Step By Step: Haiku Meditations with Angelina Egan (2018) and Moonlight over the Siding (forthcoming 2019).