At the end of fifty-five or sixty years

after one has retired,

and lives quietly, in seclusion,

one's children far away,

with their own claims and concerns,

the weight of the bygone years

suddenly oppresses one

with the arrival of a stray postcard

from a son in another country:

a picturesque beach far away

evokes memories of one's childhood in a coastal village

half a century ago,

and fills the mind with an unspeakable sorrow.

The dark deserted beach

the swish of the wind

the roar of the sea

the smell of the surf

and little brown boys, playing in the sun.

The smiles and sounds come back

as if from another life.


I read father's reply and know

that I too was there--

and through many such spent lifetimes

I shall survive,

holding to my chest a millennia

of the collective memories of my race.


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  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape