Across my window sill
I noticed a bird in quiet reverie
Nibbling at the young leaves
On old, hard stems –
Biting, breaking, spitting out.
I asked her, aren’t you hungry, dear ?
I am, too much; but I relish
My hunger, more than its appeasement.
My jaws dropped in wonder –
You surprise me little birdie, I said,
How can pain be sweeter
Than its relief ?
The relief kills the pain,
And then, both are ordinary, neither
Have any significance, both forgotten
As if they never were.
Have you ever lost a game
When you were about to win ?
Or, won when about to lose ?
Which perpetuates what ?
True, losing hurt me more,
But for days though I cried,
My yearning for a win
Was a greater reality than my failure.
You understand now, don’t you
Pain has a sweetness better than relief.
My beloved has flown away,
Leaving me to feed on his sweet company;
Though I know he is for ever gone,
For-ever is too short
For what he has left behind.
We sat together here,
Ate these young leaves together,
Looked at each other’s eyes
Till time ceased to be –
Can he take that away ?
Can he erase from the ceased time
His ceaseless presence ?
So my friend, the bird told me,
I would be my hunger,
And my hunger he,
Until there is no me and he,