IPEN - Poems by Mona Lisa Jena

The forgotten language 

You and I have a different lexicon of our own
Those who can understand our language
Are not many these days

From time to time, like a feather touch
The words that play
Amidst the pauses in our conversation
In your eyes, in my shyness
In the letters that I wrote
And could not send
And the communication
Which could not connect you to me
Those words of our symbolic language
Which are trapped…

Their implication and their intent
Have survived nevertheless,
Flowing through many centuries
In the boundless oceans, through
unfamiliar wastelands
Hidden in the parchments of our furtive affair
Are like intermittent memories of those times

You alone can remember
The remote paradise of our rendezvous
And you alone can instinctively know
When my heart is about to break 
And all I desire is
To become
The memory of our ethereal love

Those words
Which, once upon a time
Had reverberated
In the depths of a civilization
Long gone…

There, our lost words
Stand as sentinels of those intense moments.

One day you will be shorn of your gift
To read that classified lexicon of our intimacy
The lexicon so special to us

That day you will cease to understand
My beloved
The secret curse of loneliness
Might burn you for eons
And will bow your imperial pride
In the dust of the royal road,
Will lie your imperial staff, powerless

Recall, my beloved!
Recall our forgotten language
And reverse the 'descent' of our union!

I cannot say

The battle-field,
The dense forests,
The Bay of Bengal, the Brahmaputra….
I had asked everywhere
What is the rule for breaking a rule?

Can the nuptial bed be spread out
A sacred 'Janemaz' (prayer mat)?
Does not irresponsible love-making
Pretend to be crucified?

Before a ruined shrine
We were kneeling together one morning
And had chanted together
The thousand names of God;
On the golden wings of the morning bird
The weak bough of the Seuli tree shook
And on my face it left the last of the dew drops
Suddenly, like an intoxicated storm
His kiss came

He said, this much-
What is so beautiful, and so faultless
Why should it die from poison?

He adorned me
With the bondage of modesty
He spoke eloquently of love, endlessly
But I cannot utter
A single word
      Mona Lisa Jena, Khurda

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