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house of the universe :: ruby rahman

by on October 17, 2014

translated by carolyne wright, syed manzoorul islam, & the author

Golden-green light has made lacework patterns in the room,
this room where you stay, I stay, and someone else stays.
In the circumambient blue air, blue climbing vines
make filigree designs upon the house all day.
Like an architect with quick restraint, this structure’s centerpoint
stays fixed on slow burning light, love and grand tears.
As if the bewildered roses lit up a thousand moons’ radiance
all at once and kept the house aglow,
in the harsh mid-day, the kingfisher unfolds its turquoise-brown light
and inlays the universe of the house
with the lightning-streaked gems of sorrow.
Your hands and mine keep very busy playing the household games,
and someone else’s engrossed hands play inside all these.

Like restless fish, tempestuous love some nights
shakes the house with sobbing to the quiet, pure,
golden core of its foundations.
Then taking the hand of brilliant steam rising from a teacup,
the lover’s wounded feelings walk off towards evening
with slow steps to the sea.
In this room, twenty-eight unreasonable years have passed;
twenty-eight years could have passed
even more dreadfully without reason.

If we’re pained, or fail like the destitute,
what does it matter to the rose branch? What counter-movement
jars the circulating blood of the crimson insect living on the rose?
When a raw cry tears from the throat like a ball of fire,
have you ever gone under the foliage’s sari-end to hide that lament?—
Wearing a patient, unperturbed smile on her face
and waving her sari-end
Nature has withdrawn from distance to absolute distances.

The bloodshed that prompts each separate rose
to go away with wounded feelings
from the hands of trees, from Nature’s flower vases,
those wounded feelings, in ever-slowing motion in this blue room
create a golden line which appears a hard sculpture
rising in the illusions of evening.
Red light and blue air begin to play on the circumference;
the silver chisel, hammer and wedge begin to dance;
waves of rose-pink laughter fill the air of the house
with an OM sound like the rumbling of clouds.

Golden-green light sweeps the room clean,
this room where you stay, I stay and someone else stays.

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