it was dark, neither day nor night
a time between two worlds,
two countries, borders, strange
like a road that does not exist, but
the memory so acute that it is like
a knife wound neither bleeding nor
healed, scarred for life.
Memory waxes and wanes clear today
triggered by a smell, sandalwood, ghee,
familiar, like the feel of fabric, then that image
floods back, stark, almost real, memory of that
walk to the cemetery, the anguish
as he lit the funeral pyre of his mother.
Dazzling, blinding, sweat-encrusted bodies, humid
a veil of tropical rays draining into nocturnal depths
the aroma of stillness.
The empty earthenware pot
on the dying firewood stove
the cries of hunger
deep into the brown fissures
as they await
the first drop
of the monsoons.
Androgynous, half male half female, split down the middle
synthesis of the Purusha and Prakriti male, female energies
its union the root of all creation, where opposites merge
inseparable, as instilled in our consciousness.
Or is it the progress of civilisation that subtly transforms
that synergy to inequality? The might over right
the female reduced imperceptibly
Note: Ardhanarishvara is a composite androgynous form of Lord Shiva and Goddess
Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, publications. She has published two novels and two collections of poetry. She has served on the Scottish Writer's Centre Committee and is now in East Dunbartonshire Arts & Culture Committee. Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.