PRAYER – I
He enters my heart
Wearing masks I can never recognize.
In my innermost recesses,
He cuts me, leaves me bleeding.
He wounds me,
And in my bleeding, he rejoices.
Mere mehboob, mere dost
My beloved, my friend…
Silently he sits with me
And shares my sorrow, my grief
And through his own tears, smiles.
His smile makes me forget my tears.
He laughs with me,
He laughs at me,
Sometimes the distinction blurs
And frankly, I don’t care.
I gaze at his radiant face
And pray that he never stops laughing.
(If he does, I shall gladly play the fool
Let him laugh at me.)
But I see him raise his hands
To secretly wipe his eyes.
And I seize his hands
Because his salty tears are mine
Mine by right to kiss away and to drink.
PRAYER – II
Mere mehboob, mere dost, mere aaka
You struggle to express your love
And then you struggle to conceal it.
I have felt your wounding touch.
My beloved, my friend, my master
You invite me to bleed for you.
I am honoured
And I accept.
Freely I shall bleed and rejoice.
Come, slash me
With the barbs of your world.
Tear me open,
I shall not resist.
I can hear the sharp dying cry
Of every bird and beast on earth.
Then let their dying breath
Be in my throat.
With the pain of their dying, inflict me.
I can hear the groans of the trees that fall
To the heavy thudding axe
And the shrill milling saws.
Each piece of wood, each shred of paper
That surrounds me, whispers,
“Like you, my friend, we too stood tall.
We once stood in the sunlight
And breathed the same air that you breathe.
And we embraced the good earth with our last gasp.”
Then let each blow that ever felled a tree
Be on my thighs.
Let the saw mills slice my bones into thin strips.
And let my flowing blood
Lubricate and cool the jagged steel.
I sense the wrath
That you are holding back.
Yes, I am responsible for every act
Of my billion ancestors,
And billion descendants.
I am they.
With the full force of your suppressed wrath,
For I am indeed they.
By the very fact of my being human,
I daily plunder and rape the earth.
My beloved, my master,
Artfully concealed by the sound of your laughter,
By the noise and bustle of life,
You suffer countless deaths
Within the space of a single indrawn breath.
You wince, my friend, and laugh to hide it.
Each mother’s birth pangs you feel in your loins
And the struggle of each child — man and beast –
To stay alive for another hour, another day.
Yea, and then their death-rattle
As each life winds down in the end.
Fill my prayer cup with your tears, my friend
And I shall drink it to the last drop.
I ask for no favours, no mercies
But your tears are my rightful due.