In an intimate moment
To a poem
I asked,

Tell me dear, of your solemn sanity
your grace, your poise and equanimity

Why nothing ever makes you dread
What makes you ever so unafraid.

The poem, ever silent,
she sipped on some ink
And revealed gently,
In a lettered link

I am the psalm of life, thus she said,
I’m worth that testing pursuance
I am artless art, born
At the confluence of all influence

And until every word, every influence
Has come together in an effortless stride
I have witnessed my laboured making
Without that senseless shred of pride

And what do I tell you
Of the incubation inside
A young poet’s doubting mind
That imaginary prison
For an imagined work of love
How needlessly does that cage bind!

How testing were all those years
I’ve waited as a footprint on paper
In the suffocating darkness where
the sublime sublimates, into a withering vapor

But in all those moments
Spent without any clout
I’ve never let inside
A flicker of doubt

I’ve believed in myself
To the heights of delusion
When nobody knew of
My spirited resolution

At times when nobody was ready
To pull me out of the shelf,
I have spent those nights quietly
Reading myself to myself
In the voices of all those
who might find some consonance
With faith in all words
That might find some resonance

I have heard voices that
have exalted me to the heavens
I have endured the voices
That have relegated me to hell

In all those pageants
Of my own imagined discovery
I have felt
anguish and agony
beauty and belittlement
curses and caresses
doubt and desparation
exasperation and emancipation…

In those murmuring moments
I have heard
Every possible reaction
Of a possible reader
From myself
In those lonely nights
Spent memorizing myself

And hence
Having been through
The game of long waiting
The test of self-hating
That dry run of delusional self-love
I’ve earned the freedom of a fluttering dove

And so,

When a poem
Finally reaches you
It has
No fear.