Samrudhi Dash presents

An Eclipsed Horizon

Through the mist over my window pane
I can make out the faint glimmer of distant stars twinkling in the horizon beyond
Their sparkle coming from eons of light years away, reflected, refracted, rarified...
And along the way, a billion of a trillion such spectrums are eclipsed, while another billion happen to reach us
As little sparks of hope that light up the dark nocturnal canvas

The perpetual insomniac cradles grief in the womb of an aching heart
As the gnawing, niggling pain of neuralgia keeps me awake and yet crippled to make much use of the waking hours
In the spasmodic silence, punctuated by occasional sighs brought on by a particularly intense streak of excruciating pain, now and then,
My eyes, as always look up to the stars – a childhood fascination that’s never abandoned me
And as I try to trace the constellations in a mind map – “The Great Bear – Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Orion, Canis Major, Centaurs, Crux and Carina”,
My fingers dancing to make invisible dots and joining them across the sky,
The penumbra of a long eclipsed memory flickers into life
The first books that satiated my hunger to know more about stars – “Childcraft” and “Young Scientist”,
Hardbound books, with glossy, colourful pages – every child bibliophile’s delight
Were a gift from one of those people, whom I now look for in the stars... 
Perhaps one among the numbered few who knew me well enough, and really cared to do so...

Grief settles as tears at the corners of my sleep-deprived eyes
As my mind shifts from the stars to wander through the catacombs of time
Memories unfold in slow motion – like a reel playing backwards
I see myself glancing at a little girl, shyly smiling through her rabbit teeth
Then a teenager with confused dreams trying to balance school and the urge to just write poetry – a medley of emotions, poorly understood 
I see a young woman going through the darkest alleyways of despair
Hurtling through tunnels of darkness, all in the firm belief that one day she would find life, light and freedom...
I peer through the haze of tears, 
And I find myself looking back at a pair of cerulean eyes – brimming over
Except for the wisdom earned through sheer experience, they shine of the same tender innocence and love, as always 
I smile apologetically back at them, feeling the warmth of the thin stream of tears now flowing down my lacklustre cheeks
I wish I could go back and take the shy little one in my arms and warn her that the years ahead were going to be anything but easy
I wish I could slip a note to the confused teen, urging her to follow the call of her heart and scribble poetry, no matter what
I wish I could hold the young woman’s hand, give her a reassuring shake and ask her to slow down, tell her that it was okay to not be able to meet the expectations set by society
Remind her to live a little life, before it was too late...

I cradle purloined memories in the penumbra of eclipsed grief
I feel like I am stranded in the middle of nowhere – between a past that seems just like yesterday and a future that’s still eclipsed by haze of grief, pain and uncertainty 
Thinking of the long, deserted road ahead
I have no idea how I’ll manage to keep going
But then I know I’ll have to start from somewhere – perhaps even this “nowhere” is somewhere 
Picking up broken fragments and joining them into another version of myself,
Until perhaps there are no more fragments left to join
Lighting candles on the tombstones of dreams that died a premature death
Laying flowers on the epitaphs of memories of “once upon a time”
I simply have to keep going, even though I don’t know how
Because life doesn’t give you a choice
Sometimes the endurance and resilience I have gathered over the years seem far too little
And yet I know, as I trace my feet over paths uncharted,
With a mute acceptance of everything that comes along
I’ll gain the necessities and the journey will continue
Tracing constellations on starry nights,

The sword of recurrence continues to hang over me and so does this churning uncertainty of life
And yet I will step forward, wrapping up all the grief in the deepest recesses of my heart,
For, I am reminded, 
Grief is but all the love you wanted to give, but couldn’t 
The perpetual insomniac will find a way to keep going, no matter what
For that’s the only way forward,
And I don’t have the luxury of looking back...
And yes, I have the fragrance of unconditional love to guide me forward, onward...
Samrudhi Dash, who writes under the pseudonym Inara, is a young poet, author, editor and motivational speaker. Having completed her Masters in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, she has to her credit five poetry collections and three novels, the latest of which made it to the Amazon Bestsellers list at Rank 10. Her poems, stories and articles have been published in national and international anthologies, e-zines and magazines, including the prestigious Reader’s Digest. She has also edited and co-edited five prose and poetry anthologies.
She has been honoured with the International Nissim Prize for the Best Upcoming Poet of the Year 2019. Optimistic and positive, a strong feminist at heart, she believes in women empowerment and gender equality.
Her signature words are “Hope, Live Believe”.