It Rained In Rockland Yesterday

Maharaj Kaul

It was only yesterday that we had a rain over Rockland,
An inundation without reservation, without inhibition.
Every rain drop raced after the next as if in an eternal chase;
Getting closer but never achieving the target.
The outpouring was an immense waterfall,
Happening apparently without reason.

The concatenation of rain drops produced a drilling staccato,
Piercing into the labyrinthine recesses of brain.
Awareness was not lost but one sensed to be
Transported to a different world.
Earth felt soft and time quivered.
The worldly structures receded beyond apprehension.

Standing behind the kitchen-deck door I saw
A miracle happening in front of my eyes:
A vast congregation of parachutes descending
From an unknown origin, for an unknown mission.
Each rain drop had an urgency in its fall,
An enigmatic pregnancy in its form.

Water squished and splashed on the ground,
Gushing into the old grooves, filling the nooks and crannies.
It sheet-spread over the lawn with gay but reckless abandon,
Sweeping across the careless contours,
Drenching the tree roots lying above aground,
And gushing into the streamlet bordering our property.

A rain is more than a condensation of vapor,
Or a nourishment much needed by vegetation,
Arid lakes, and depleted rivers.
It quenches the parched human spirits,
Balms the worldly wounded,
And breathes in a whiff of the other luminosities of universe.

Rockland is a supine, sober bedroom of New York City.
Bereft of its glamour and clamor.
A town neglected and despised in the
Elite shadow of Manhattan.
A metropolis raids but a village submits.
Humans still put on their best face in small places
But in large cities they try to be what they are not.

The rain in Rockland is a celebration of the unknown:
In Manhattan it is an inconvenient intrusion.
A city takes more than it gives,
Though it appears the other way
Due to its seductive shimmering sheen.
It molests the fine nature of man
Through his prurient weaknesses.
The world excites but nature soothes.

Yesterday, it rained through the Kashmir in me,
Bringing out the echoes of my childhood:
Streaming din of cricket games played in courtyard;
Getting drowned for days in tragic feelings watching a Dilip Kumar movie;
Imagining romance with the neighborhood girl Zoon,
Which our religious divide forbade;
Discovering the first saplings of the grand loneliness taking root in me.

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