As I lie dying, a lament rises from my bones,
shriveling skin, and wafting through the air;
it turns all the blue mountains, I so gloriously depicted
in my poetry, a shade of doleful crimson,
it chokes the lush grass I pictured, and makes me
see dying brambles and hawthorns,
it turns the soothing mist into yellow smog,
it turns the little beige nightingale into a monstrous hawk
with blood-soaked talons and the fiercest eyes.
Was living for art worth anything? I ask myself
Was chasing knowledge and thirsting for her
like a beggar yearns for coins worth it?
Were jealousy, regret, and guilt the right prices to pay?
In the end, every book that man writes lies buried
without an epitaph,
each passion he knows amounts to nothing,
each song he sings has no meaning,
every instrument he fashions lies broken
Why then, do we strive, when what we strive for is unattainable?
Why then, do we hope, when hope is out of sight?
Why then, do we yearn, when yearning never satiates?
I look with eyes that are slowly shutting
and I hold my grief tight because
it’s the only thing that’s tangible.
The frogs croaking in the twilight mean nothing,
the orange light that illuminates my lonely bed does nothing to me,
the dim bulb that sputters knows nothing,
the bed creaks, and the mosquitoes bite, and nostalgia
slowly meets oblivion.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)