In my mind’s backyard

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Sep 2018 10:22:20





By Vijay Phanshikar,

A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain

- A haiku by
Kobayashi Issa

These thirteen words revive a childhood memory -- in the backyard of the house. From the mango tree, lush green and thick in leaves, a cuckoo is singing. The typical resonant, repetitive sound -- cuhoo, cuhoo, cuhoo! ‘She is singing for me’, I assert to no one in particular. I answer back -- cuhoo, cuhoo, cuhoo! She repeats. I answer back. She gets a little irritated, and repeats the twitting with greater vigour. I dare her again. She is now absolutely livid, as if. Yet, in her responses, I read eagerness -- to come closer, to be friendly. So goes the repartee, in total synchrony, in total unison, the melodious cacophony refusing to halt.

A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain ....

Oh, the difference to me -- only me! For, I know, the cuckoo is singing to me, to the mountain, to me, to the mountain, to me, to me, to me ...!
What a fine romance of being together -- even though on either side of the divide! She is singing -- to me, to me, to me ... of course. Only to me, as if.
As if there is none in this big world -- only the cuckoo and me.
That’s how life generally is, or should be -- woven around self, expanding from me toward the infinite, toward the end of the
universe. The cuckoo’s call and my response. The two of us. Only two of us. That’s heady! That’s very much poetry!
A cuckoo sings...!
She sings her heart out ... ! - Oh to me, for me, for me alone!

And what is she singing? Of course, it is her own song, Nature’s own song, its own voice, its own message -- of gay abandon, of
carefree expression, in a rather ferocious serenity, so to say! For, it is not just the habit, I realise. It is, to the contrary, the cuckoo’s calling, her religion, her soul’s voice, Nature’s inner message -- to the world.
May be.
Yet, I know, the cuckoo is singing only for me!

Is it not just me who is listening with such an intensity?! Is it not me who is responding with certain audacity, certain longing?!
That is our repartee -- hers and mine. That’s our conversation -- hers and mine.
There is none else there; only the two of us. In those melodious moments, in our world, there are only two of us, singing to each other, cajoling, coaxing, cohorting. !!!

A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain

The mountain is just a condition -- physical as well as metaphysical, spiritual as well as temporal. For, on the temporal walls of the mountain, the cuckoo’s voice rebounds and resonates in my ears, in my inner being. It is filling my inner being. It is spilling over and spilling out. Yet, it is accumulating around my soul, drenching my core in its melody. The mountain, so to say, is the backyard of my mind. Oh!