Your voice

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Your voice brings me comfort

after the silence of years,

like someone smears on Sassi’s[1] feet

a cooling salve layer.

 

Like the divine Huma[2] passes

over someone’s head,

and lover moon embroiders

a flower in night’s tresses.

 

Like a fragrant dream

scents the breath of sleep,

and the first night ray

paints the forehead

of a drowsy day.

 

Like every word wears

only your perfume,

and softly hums a heady

love tune…

 

 

 

And so, with exquisite threads of desire

I weave a coat for myself –

and seek the strains of shehnai[3]

in the sough of wilderness.

 

 

 

[1] Sassi: In the Punjabi folktale of Sassi-Punnu, Sassi burns the soles of her feet as she drags herself through the burning sands of the Thal [Thar] Desert in search of her lover Punnu, who has perished in trying to reach her (Sassi).

 

[2] Huma: A mythical bird of fortune whose shadow or touch is said to bring fortune.  In Sufi lore, even a shadow of it is possible only in the wildest imagination, and is a harbinger of untold blessings.

 

[3] Shehnai: A wind instrument made from wood believed to have originated in Kashmir. Its wistful, sometimes plaintive notes can be heard on auspicious occasions like weddings.

 

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