Wednesday, July 20

Rock at the Seashore

I'm born of volcanoes
Earthquakes are my base
I'm engraved by storms
Seashore is my place

I laugh with the winds
To blue skies I talk

Lightening is my looking glass
With centuries I walk

Tempests are my trumpet
Thunder is my anthem

Knowing my temporal being 
At an eternal peace I'm 

My dear treacherous world
Go over your savage store
 What else you got to menace 

A little rock at the seashore 

Tuesday, July 19

When The Veil of Color is Lifted

When the veil of color is lifted
The fragrance shines more brightly

Leaving the abode of flower
In embrace of a new world, it finds

Welcoming, blue sky's golden smile
Opened, countless gates of possibilities

And eternity, singing in wind's insanity
Excited to absorb an ephemeral life

(July - 2010 ! Thanks to a mystery and an awe for inspiration.)


Tuesday, July 5

The Wooden Heart - VII (Last Part)

Click here to read this story from beginning. 

When lady reached home, she had got fever and spent many days on bed afterwards, burning with fever, shame and rage.

Sometimes she thought it wasn’t fault of wooden heart but her own temptations. At other times she thought that it was solely because wooden heart, she was at peace before wooden heart entered in her life. Nonetheless, she missed the wooden heart, its bruises and wounds, its beautiful design, its nonstop talking and even its silence afterwards. Her mother listened to her muttering in sleep. “That’s all because of you, why did you make a promise that you were not able to honor.” At other times she listened her murmuring. “But it’s not because of you dear; it’s all because of me. We human, we traders of vain hope and futile dreams, dealers of false promises and delusive aims; how easy it’s for us to blame everything for our misfortune except ourselves.” Sometimes she also listened her saying “This is all because of you merciless woman! This is not fault of this innocent and beautiful heart that even can’t speak. This is you to put a false hope in my and misguided me.” 

When lady recovered, she had reached a decision. “Gypsy woman was a fraud and her predictions totally false, I’ll never think about her predictions again.  

She spent weeks and months afterwards trying to live dreamlessly, assuring herself that her life is a black hole perched in endless space, for whom time and change are words of past. But she had to make another decision later. “It’s better to live painfully with a hope, rather than living peacefully hopeless.”

 It’s not necessary for hope to have a name or a face. Hopes are necessary to live but not necessarily as names, faces or things, hope can be just a feeling, a though that something will happen someday and life will be not as it is now, sometimes hope is simply a piece of wood carved in shape of a heart with a delicate etching.  Lady had missed the wooden heart since the day she tossed it away on the street where tavern was located. It had become part of her life gradually and its absence felt like a loved one’s absence in home, like absence of his father, to say. She went in search of missing heart to the street where tavern was and stood at the same place where she listened to talk of boy with his fellows in tavern. She tried to recall the direction she tossed the heart and estimate the distance at which it might have fallen. She inquired children playing there if they saw any heart made with wood there. She promised a bronze coin whoever guided her to the wooden heart or a nickel coin for each if guides were more than one.

It didn’t take children longer to find the new owner of wooden heart. One child asked to other, he spoke to a third child who told about a girl he listened speaking about some wooden ornament. In the end, it came that wooden heart was in possession of a painter living in a hut nearby tavern. Painter wasn’t an artist as some might think; he was a laborer who whitewashed walls and fences of people’s homes and gardens. Peoples said he is mad and children feared him, no child agreed to go to his hut and bring the wooden heart back from him. They told lady that they can only lead her to the hut of mad painter.

Upon entering the hut, lady noticed that wooden heart was very first thing to be noticed on mud walls of hut bare of any decoration or whitewash. Door of hut was opposite the direction of sunrise and there wasn’t enough light inside the hut, yet it was darker if moderate flames of a clay stove were not helping the eyes of newcomer. She was afraid to meet with someone not better than carpenter’s drunken assistant. But the discovery amazed her that painter didn’t look mad by any aspect, when he said “Hello” his voice was gentle.

“This wooden heart is mine” Lady said to him after exchanging greetings. “I bought it from carpenter in the carnival for a silver ring and I’m rightful owner of this”  
She couldn’t see the changing color of painter’s face due to insufficient light. She just waited for his response and then repeated her words again. “This wooden heart is mine; please return this heart to me.”

“Were that you?” Painter’s gentle voice turned into a furious grumble at once. " Were you that root of misery?"  Lady couldn’t understand meanings of this reply unrelated to her question nor why at once his gentle voice has turned into a grumble. She thought painter was really mad. Some mad people look very reasonable until you come to know their madness from close.
“I don’t understand what are you saying? This heart is mine, please return it.” Lady said, retreating by a few steps towards entrance of hut.
“You want it back?” He grumbled louder “You want it back? Ok, take it back” Painter removed the wooden heart from mud wall of hut and threw it in flames of clay stove. Waxed surface of heart immediately caught fire.

Lady screamed as though her own heart was put on fire. “Rascal, what have you done? O what have you done” She cried. “Why did you throw it in fire?”

Painter stood still, motionless, without caring to reply her question.

“Why did you throw it in fire?” Lady shouted again, tears sliding on her cheek like raindrops on glass of a window. “Ah, cruel fate, were not all these wounds and bruises enough for you to crucify me that you had threw my heart into a fire” She hurried to pick the burning heart from stove but cruel, merciless flames didn’t allow her to touch it, there was enough heat to push back her hand immediately.

Tears of woman have a magical softening effect on men’s heart, painter wasn’t unaffected by that magic. “What’s matter lady?” His voice was gentle again when he spoke. “Why are you crying for this piece of wood so badly? What’s special with that?”

“You can’t imagine how precious it was” Lady replied among tears.

“The silver ring you gave for this heart, right? I’m sorry. I’m a poor laborer and can’t compensate all your loss but maybe I could even some of loss caused by my foolishness” He said.

“It got nothing to with cost of this heart. I wonder if you can understand. It’s all about the bruises of this wooden heart; they were very similar to bruises of my own heart. Can you imagine how difficult it’s to find a heart so similar with your own heart and how precious such a heart can be?” Lady said bitterly, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Ah, lady I wonder if you can understand what made me throw this wooden heart in stove” Painter said with a sigh. “Let me admit it was really my foolishness. I get angry when people call me mad but perhaps I’m really turned mad. I’ll find you another heart like this; this is my promise that I’ll find you another wooden heart like this. That will be not exactly like this heart but it’ll compensate for your loss somewhat.”

“There can never be another heart like this, you don’t what you have destroyed” Lady replied “But I’ll like to know what you have to offer”

“Meet me here in my hut after three days” Painter said. Just before leaving the hut, lady noticed that painter’s eyes were as tearful as her own eyes.

Lady wasn’t sure if there will be anything worth visiting when she re-visited painter on fourth day but for her surprise, there was a new wooden heart waiting for her.

“My Goodness” Lady exclaimed. “This is amazing, this is magical. So similar to my previous wooden heart” She examined the heart. “Design is different, it’s simple yet beautiful but not as fancy and delicate as the previous heart but I don’t care for it. I care for underlying bruises, this is real magic. They are so much similar to bruises on my own heart, so much similar to bruises on the burned heart and same skillfully blended in the design.”

Painter smiled. “I’m glad you liked this heart lady. I’ve somewhat compensated for my foolishness, I hope.”

“But who carved this heart?” Lady asked “I’m amazed how the pattern of underlying bruises is so much same to the previous one?  Wasn’t this a very difficult thing to do?”

“This is me who carved this heart and this was me who carved the very heart that was burned by me!” Painter replied.

“Good God! Was that you? But you are a painter, how come you carved that heart? Carpenter told me that heart was carved by his assistant.”

“I’m the carpenter’s assistant, former assistant, to say” Painter replied with a smile, as readers would have recognized by now, he was the same broken hearted boy who carved that heart in darkness of a very dark night. “Now I’m a painter. Carpenter fired me one week after you bought that wooden heart from him”

“Why?” Lady inquired.

“He wanted me to carve more hearts like that. He said that was something for what rich people will happy to pay a silver coin.” Boy said with a sigh. “The silver ring you gave him had lit the fire of greed that no water of world can put out.”
“You’d have carved more fine things like that, that was not less than a magic” Lady argued. “But why did he fire you? Did you refuse to carve more hearts like this?”

“I tried my best to carve another heart like this, believe me. I couldn’t even carve a rightly shaped heart let alone etching a design on it” Boy replied. “This turned carpenter angry, he thought I’m making fool of him. He accused me of cheating and said that I wasn’t carving another hearts like this lest he’ll be rich. He called me a bad apprentice who betrayed his master after learning from him and finally fired me with the warning that I’d never think about doing woodwork in the town or he’ll put my workplace at fire.”

“Got it” Lady said. “So, was this the reason you threw that heart into fire but why did you keep it before I met you and demanded its return?”

“I was in a love-hate relationship with that heart.” Boy admitted. “You can’t imagine difficulties those I faced after losing my job. If this wasn’t for bruises of this heart those were so dear to me, perhaps I’d have put it on fire the very first day I found it again. Just when you told me this was you who bought this heart for silver ring that brought me all those miseries, I couldn’t control the rage heaped layers upon layers inside my heart.”

There was a long pause afterwards. Today, hut was not as dark as three days ago, it was late afternoon and sun was shining right in door of hut. Sunshine was roaming freely everywhere inside the hut, hugging the mud walls and kissing the straws hanging down from thatched roof. Lady began to feel a something strange but she was unable to understand or name that feeling.

 “But how came these bruises are so similar to bruises of my own heart?” Lady asked. “You say this pattern of bruises belongs to your heart while I see this very similar to my own heart.”

“I don’t know, I really don’t know.” Boy replied. “Though let me tell you one thing, for many days after carving that wooden heart, it seemed to me as every person in this world has a wooden heart squirming somewhere inside them to be carved out, to reveals its bruises and tell its story to world. I wondered if each of us could etch bruises of his real heart on wood, how many hearts we’d have seen similar to ours.” He paused for a while and then continued. “I wondered why God didn’t give everyone a piece of wood and tools of carving so they could carve out their hearts when in utmost grief. Had not I carved this wooden heart that night, the lump shackled in my throat had blocked my breath and carpenter might have found me dead on work bench next day.”  

“I’m not able to understand all this” Lady admitted, intensity of strange feeling was growing. “As I don’t know of what night you are talking about”

“There is a long story behind that, lady!” Boy replied with a sigh. “Better leave that story untold and don’t pay attention to these bruises for a while. Just look at these flowers. Didn’t this fact surprise you that I failed to carve a heart when carpenter asked me? I don’t know how I carved this heart again like I didn’t know how I carved the heart now turned ashes. This heart is not carved by skill of hand but something that rhymed with beats of my hearts”

 “I’m thankful to you for being that kind to me.” Lady said, trying to understand his eloquent speech dotted with ambiguity. “These flowers are beautiful … These flowers ….. These flowers” Words staggered on her tongue suddenyl, it was as though a lightening flashed inside her and lightening was accompanied by a thunder that has left her thunderstruck. 

“These flowers and this sun with rays on top corner of heart, my mother knit this design on my sweater. This was only design that came to my mind etching this heart, it’s not as delicate as the previous design but it’s beautiful ….” Boy stopped, he felt something strange and saw widened eyes of lady.

"It’s more beautiful than any design carved on anything in world.” Lady’s voice was trembling; she had fully recalled the second sign given by Gypsy woman that she worked hard to bury in grave of reasoning and repentance. “You’ll recognize him when he’ll grow flowers in your heart.” She didn’t need to verify that boy before him was the person predicted by Gypsy woman and wooden heart now turned ashes. She wanted to exclaim “Bruises of this heart, similar to bruises of your heart and mine heart at the same time, are most beautiful design ever existed on Earth, ask me why and let me tell you a story too.” But instead of exclaiming, in a low voice that didn’t tell the intensity of her emotional state at all, she said. “I have some broken furniture that I want you to repair. Will you please come to my home this evening to see that? Don’t worry about carpenter; there’ll be nothing to provoke him. Just some minor works that even a painter can do easily.” 

Boy, trying to understand the strange feeling that had filled his small hut with something pleasant but incomprehensible, just nodded his hand. There was something that had just made the sunshine smile and straws hanging down from roof dance. That strange thing wasn’t only in sunshine or straws, that was in eyes of lady as well and even though boy couldn’t see his own eyes, he was sure that strange thing was in his our eyes as well. Eyes with which he looked into eyes of lady and found a bright flare there, not like the last gleam of a lamp about to douse but like first ray of sun just rose above streams and waterfalls of a green valley in a summer morning. Eyes those looked the lady going out of hut, walking on street gracefully and disappearing at the corner of street. Eyes those noticed just a moment before her disappearance that color of her dress was the same that boy’s damsel of dreams wore the first day boy saw her and last day he met her. Then boy sat down and began to think without thoughts and feel without feelings.

He didn’t know, for sure he didn’t know how important those few moments of strange feeling and flare were. Great moments of our lives don’t come with beat of drums and sparkle of fireworks, they just step in silently and only when they step out softly, leaving deepest mark of their presence on our hearts and our lives, only then we realize splendor of those moments. We gather scattered memories of those moments and keep them like diamonds and rubies in our heart. In dark times of life, they glimmer like moon and stars in dark night. Then one fine and calm day reveals what these diamonds mean to us, like when boy realized the purpose of moon and star on dark blue muffler knit by his mother. When he realized red flowers and warmth of bright sun doesn’t always stay with us, sun leaves us in night and flowers leave us in autumn. Then, these are stars and moon those remind us that world is not collapsed and life is not ended, that there will be another morning after the night and there will be another spring after the autumn.

When we read a story, we justifiably expect an end. Readers might be curious about end of story so let us consider an end before we leave this story. If this was story of lady and boy, it can’t end here because there followed days, months and years of them together, making up moments those don’t necessarily make a story but make a life. If this was story of wooden heart, it finished when boy threw the wooden heart in flames of clay stove. Events before making of wooden heart and after burning of wooden heart fall in the category of prefaces and annexures.

 We can consider it to be the story of passion that engraves bruises on hearts, the passion that etches dreams on hearts, that blends those dreams into bruises and make art, beauty, poetry and life out of that blend. The passion that carves a wooden heart with blurry eyes and trembling hands in darkness of night, that makes a piece of wood talk, that burns silently in flames of a clay stove with stars and moon and reappears renewed with sunlight and flowers. Though, this story can’t end even if it’s story of that passion. Story of this passion never ends; it just takes a break from one name, one face, and one situation to appear again somewhere else with new names, new faces and new situations. This story started with first dawn of humanity and will end with last ray of life on Earth.

However, taking guidance from tradition of storytelling, we can end the story with traditional end “They lived happily afterwards.” Sparing for your imagination to fill in the answers of questions like “What happened afterwards? What talk lady and boy had that evening and what followed next?” There are never perfectly “happy afterwards” though, being human means an endless fight at battle front of life. Shortly after end of a battle we find ourselves engaged in another fight with life, there are invasions of new problems, new fronts to fight at. Therefore, we can’t say “happily afterwards” with certainty though we can be certain they never suffered with life as badly as they suffered before meeting each other. There was, at least, a shoulder for them to rest upon in weariness and a hand to hold in uncertain times. So the life goes, with its bitterness and sweetness hand to hand.

Friday, July 1

The Wooden Heart - VI

Click here to read this story from beginning. 

Lady couldn’t forget Gypsy woman’s words for many days later. Wooden heart began to look silent like a messenger who has finished his job. Lady missed its talking, days when it seemed like a little boy trying to catch attention of her by shouting out loudly.
Sometimes she wondered if Gypsy woman was right and though about the person wooden heart spoke of. But it’s not easy to think about a person when your heart is bruised and wounded all over. Every place where such a thought can touch, there was already a wound and we all know that wounds pain even if a petal of flowers touches them. “There is no sense in her words.” She told herself when her thoughts hurt her. “Fortune tellers are really very clever in manipulation of their clients. Look how absurdly I put more coins on her hand than she asked for and how her words are stuck to my mind.”

One day, during usual cleaning and dusting, she took off the wooden heart from its place and dusted it with a soft cloth. She certainly had not sharp eyes of a professional carpenter therefore she couldn’t look out for the tiny arrowhead like dart uprose from the design and dart pierced into delicate skin of her thumb. A drop of blood ran out and slid down on the shining surface of polished heart, making its path towards root of small dart.

Lady noticed a tiny dark stain, like a stain of dried up blood, size of a chickpea or slightly large, in root of dart. Drop of blood ran from her thumb stopped right at that stain and began to dry there. “…’ll recognize this person when your blood will spill over his blood.” Gypsy woman’s voice echoed in her mind. She brought the wooden heart closer to her eyes widening in awe and try to examine the tiny stain. It’s not easy to recognize a drop of blood beneath shine of wax unless evidence of your heart confirms it. Though she was trying to examine the stain and reach a decision, her heart had already gave the verdict that this was a dried up blood drop apparently ran from a finger of the person who carved this design.
“Is this drop of blood really from his finger?” She thought. “If it is really a drop of blood and if there is really him to fulfill the prophecy of Gypsy woman.”  
Though stuck to her mind, so much stuck that it bothered her. “You hopeless romantic! Why can’t you think about something else?” She quarreled with herself sometimes, without any positive outcome. Quarrels hardly bring a positive outcome unless reconciliation closes them. She remembered carpenter’s telling that heart was made by his assistant. It wasn’t difficult to find carpenter in such a small town but she wasn’t sure whether to go in pursuit of fulfillment of prophecy or not. When she thought about it, it all seemed completely absurd and fancies of her desperate mind but when she listened to her heart she found it imploring to go and meet the carpenter’s assistant. 
Lady ventured to follow her heart one day. She got the address of carpenter’s workshop and went there. She had no specific idea about what to do, she had a plan to talk with carpenter about repair of some broken furniture and she expected to catch a glance of his assistant meanwhile. That was all she thought.

But things are hardly ever the way we think, carpenter wasn’t there. Only his assistant was sleeping on a newly made bench. Lady stood there and wondered what to do next. But she didn’t need to think for long, boy suddenly woke up and startled at seeing her even though she said “Hello” in a very soft and mellow voice. “Where is master? Where is he?” Boy asked nervously, getting up and jumping down the bench. “I’m sorry but it’s not my fault, master knows I’m not well today, I got an ache in stomach.” This first impression disappointed lady very much; she didn’t imagine a lazy and such coward person. Though she knew professions leave their deep marks on personalities and a carpenter’s assistant can’t be expected to an educated and well-mannered person but she had at least image of someone as busy as honey bee with timber and tools and someone who could return a hello with a smile.
“Where is carpenter? I want him to repair some broken furniture of mine house.” Lady said.
Boy seemed relaxed. “Master didn’t return from city yet? Thanks God, you frightened me too much lady” He smiled and lady noticed her yellow teeth stained with dark stains of tobacco or something like that, adding further to her disappointment.
“You better talk with him lady; he’ll be back in an hour. If I said anything wrong, he’ll be angry with me therefore I can’t help you.” Boy didn’t sound at all to have anything like manners.
Lady turned back, and then stopped for a moment. “What should I do? What should I do?” She panicked. “If there’s any truth in prophecy of Gypsy woman then shame on me. Am I left for such rascal by fate?”

She again stepped towards door and stopped again. “At least I can know if he is really the person who carved and etched this wooden heart.” She thought. “If he can make such a thing, he has certainly a good heart regardless his clumsy appearance.”
She turned back to the boy who was watching her confusion with typical interest of boys. “This heart” Lady took the wooden heart out of her purse. “I bought this heart from your master, he told me it were you who carved this heart? Is that right?”
Boy’s eyes showed a glimmer of wickedness. “Of course that was me” He moved close and took the wooden heart from lady’s hands. “How can I forget? This heart took me a long time of toilsome labor”
“I want another wooden heart like this but with a different design” Lady said “Can you please come to my home in evening? I’ll tell you what design I want” She wasn’t sure if this was a right move to make but she wasn’t able to evaluate all pros and cons at the time.
Wickedness in eyes of boy got multiplied. “Of course lady, it’d be a great honor for me to be at your home. But you see I’m not in a good condition to have such an honor, can please give me a few nickel coins so I’ll not look that clumsy when I’ll be at your home this evening?” This was the last nail in coffin of her expectations, she never imagined the person of prophecy begging from her at very first encounter. She took back the wooden heart with as much politeness as possible for a desperate person, put a few nickel coins on hand of boy and got out of the workshop.

The farrier at the front of carpenter’s workshop called her. He was an old acquaintance of her father and remembered seeing her as a little girl. They talked for a few minutes, farrier inquired about her father and afterwards said sorry for making her sad. Lady asked about the carpenter, told of broken furniture in the house and then chatted briefly about little things, like weather, crops, birds and carpenter’s assistant to which lady gave more attentive ear than weather or crops.
“His mother died long ago and his father has kicked him out due to his bad character.” Farrier told her. “He is not a good boy. He wastes his pay in gambling and wine, carpenter had caught him stealing his money once.”

When lady left the farrier she was totally sure that Gypsy woman’s prediction was mere a lie and  her blood drop fell on the stain of wooden heart was mere a coincidently. But there was another arrow for her on bow of fate. When she passed from tavern, she listened loud laughter from inside the tavern and recognized the voice of carpenter’s assistant. 
“What a beautiful tart she was” Boy was saying among cackles and cachinnations. “I wonder what she wanted but I’m sure the story of broken furniture was all but a lie and inquiry about wooden heart as well.”
“So what do you intend?” Another voice asked.
“Nothing, I have got my lot from her in the form of this pint. I’m not interested in carving a wooden heart for her” Boy laughed loudly, he was drunk, obviously.
“May be the matter is not of a wooden heart but a real heart ……….” Rest of words was so offensive that lady couldn’t control her rage. Her face turned red with shame and anger. “What an immodest hussy I have made myself in pursuit of this absurd prophecy” She grumbled. “Now a rascal should talk about me this way?”

She wanted to rush in the tavern and drag out carpenter’s assistant grabbing his collar and kick him with her feet to teach some manners but she knew she can’t do any of this. She stood there biting her lower lip in utmost rage then at once her anger turned towards wooden heart. “This is because of you, all because of you” She said grinding her teeth and threw the wooden heart away with all force of her arm.  

(Click here for last part of this story)