Of poetic relief -- in sky!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Nov 2018 11:18:46


By Vijay Phanshikar,




From time to time
the clouds give rest
to the moon-beholders.

- A haiku by
Matsuo Basho
That is a special tribe. Focused. Patient. Steeped in poetry. Stepped up in enthusiasm. Awake all night -- with wide eyes -- drinking the blue coolness of the Moon etching a gigantic arch on sky’s canvas. They are never tired beholding the Moon, they say. Their nights, therefore, are bubbling with bewitching madness.
Have you ever watched the Moon through the night? Have you ever got drunk with its coolness that has little connection with how hot or cold the night actually is on the Earth?
Try that, and you may find yourself belonging to the family of Moon-beholders, basking in the connect with that shining blue-white patch on the sky’s background. And even though you may feel the warmth of the huddle, you may realise that the Moon-beholders belong to themselves and to no one. In good company, they may thrive in poetic association. But actually, they may be loners of first water -- enjoying the celestial company with their feet on the ground but minds dancing around the Moon up above in the hazy night sky.
But then do come moments when the physical eyes are bored of the beautiful monotony and tired of the sameness of spectacle. Their craning necks also hurt, and their eyes seek a sly resort to closed lids and lashes. Then they do steal a look around them on the Mother Earth sleepily basking in moon-light.
If a cloud -- a lone one or in bunches of cotton-white floss -- saunters into the view, the Moon-beholders’ eyes are aglow with relief (!). This rest, this remission is what the Moon-beholders were looking for but unwilling to admit. For, in that night of beholding the Moon, doing anything or
seeking it on the sly is nothing but blasphemy! How can they -- the Moon-beholders -- do something other than seeking the Moon’s view?
Yet, unadmittedly though, the clouds divinely waltz in to offer the tired eyes a little rest, a little distraction.
The clouds, almost a little higher than their arm’s length, are worldly beings up there, like balls of white hares, almost always sprinting away, winking at the Moon-beholders down here, not even
expecting gratitudinous smiles on their faces paradoxically ashen with (now bored) excitement.
Of course, some clouds are not so gracious. They linger longer, move around themselves, spread thinner and gather thicker -- engaged, as if, in a well-choreographed dance in weightlessness ...!
Then the Moon hides behind those crowds of clouds. For a while, Moon-beholders do feel relief. But as some clouds linger, they hanker after that slice of the Moon patiently
waiting to be visible to his lovers down on the ground.
The Moon and the clouds alternate their presence in the sky, offering relief -- from each other -- to the Moon-beholders whose sense of poetry is just incomplete -- without both.