Poems by
Ajai Narendran

A Requiem

a poem by Ajai Narendran

(Dedicated to Dr.Kalpana Chawla
who was on board the Space Shuttle Columbia)

Even as a child
You knew well before that
If little feet could make little journeys
then your destination could not be so far away
because your vision pierced through the neon glow
out into the constellation’s star lit fringes.

You left this bright blue spot
that was your campsite, your only one
on your cosmic sojourn,
an adventure that later turned out to be
a pilgrimage that released you
from the Confines of the space capsule
and the soul cages
to the immensity of the intergalactic spaces and beyond.

Darting across the touch down path,
that turned out to be your take off route,
your heart must have skipped a few beats in excitement
at the thought of a reunion with your loved ones,
at the elation of completing yet another mission,
at the enlightenment of beholding an integral vision
of our planet in it’s cosmic back drop,
and your home that rocked like a cradle
on strings of time that at once stretched,
in one wild swing through
the loop holes of safety
to eternity and the realms of infinitude
taking you to the abode of no return.

Sure you must have sensed throes
Of an impending disaster as things went wrong
One after the other, when moments seemed like eons
And the inevitable became the only choice left.
But undeterred you went along
Right into the unknown,
Into the black hole of destiny
Hidden in the luminescence
Of boundless emptiness in all its fullness
That engulfed the nothingness
Everything eventually gets reduced to.
What was it that you felt then…
Was it a momentary rage
Of technology taking too much for granted,
Was it the seraphic joy
Of total submission to heaven’s decree,
Or was it just a numb stillness
Suspended in blissful oblivion?

Soon perhaps I will spot you flitting
through skies into this region, rushing back home,
many might sigh a star is shooting
and gaze at it, assuming
some Zodiacal mishap-
whereas there quitting spheres
that will be your winged soul
a flurry to join us
like a bright streak of hope
Through the obliterating dust of the bygone
And recurring fears
here on earth, to lead us through a regeneration
and another transformation.