Published in the Yercaud Poetry Festival 2020 Ignite Poetry Anthology
Water! don’t try to put me out
I can turn you into vapour invisible
Wind! do not try to blow me off
I can spread to turn a city into ashes.
There is no light and warmth without me
Friendship dances in joy around the bonfire
With my name you describe your love
You turn yourself into me in rage, wild.
Volcanoes liberate me and I run down the slopes
Lightning claps aloud and I brighten the dark clouds.
My heat has kept wild beasts away and saved man
From stones he made me, friend and foe he knew not.
Invaders, plunderers and heroes marched with torches lit
As cities burned, people fled, but the emperors feasted.
Flames rise up in prayer, but no match for a burning heart
Incense fills the air; only pure souls win the test of fire.
Often, I burn in vain beneath an earthen pot of water
Boiling rapid, waiting and much await they too
Each second, as flames rumble in their stomach
Money they seldom had, to bring home rice grains.
Costly it was not much, but I cursed myself
Fine silk on her, his dream for his daughter beloved
Not her merits, they sought much more money
My flames gave her freedom from their enormous greed.
Wisdom never dawned on them, furious
They protested, marched and shouted
My head bent in shame, my reluctant flames
Devoured page after page, knowledge mounts
Could a man kill himself and others?
Seeking pleasure in puffs of smoke
When borrowed time ends, lips part
Dropping last breath and the lighted killer.
My breath envelops green world, ablaze
The birds, their small chicks and the nest
Look up to find smoke sailing, like
In a war-torn city; flee if you can, fly away.
Fire is pure and holy
Love is true and divine
As elements of life
Man needs both
Eternal are those
Sensibly use them.