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Friendship

 

Like birdsong beginning inside the egg,

a flake of snow dreaming of an iceberg –

 

the rainbow sky beyond judgment,

one soul dwelling in two bodies,

 

names safe in each other’s mouths,

walking together, sometimes in the dark

 

in silence more sympathetic than words,

something understood, treasured –

 

not a duty, just a responsibility gladly undertaken,

a comfortable hand-in-glove feeling.

 

When the giving grows, the taking goes,

angels let us see the best of what we can be

 

just as the shimmer of dawn prophesies

the appearance of the Milky Way and a zillion stars –

 

not following, not leading, just loving

for trying, not blindly, but closing one’s eyes

 

in forgiveness, in prayer, finding the hard times

worth suffering, there being no better love than love

 

with no object, just being there, unquestioning,

willing to be trusted with everything.

 

 

© Shanta Acharya, first published in Acumen (Issue 80, September 2014), and included in What Survives Is The Singing (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2020)

Picture 10492732, illustration by C F Tunnicliffe, 20th century, image copyright Mary Evans / Medici

 

 

Shanta Acharya, DPhil (Oxon), was born and educated in Cuttack, Odisha. She won a scholarship to Oxford, where she was among the first batch of women admitted to Worcester College. After completing her doctoral degree, she was appointed a Visiting Scholar in the Department of English and American Literature and Languages at Harvard University. Since 1985, she has lived and worked in London. The author of twelve books, her most recent publications include What Survives Is The Singing (Indigo Dreams Publishing, UK, 2020) and Imagine: New and Selected Poems (HarperCollins, India, 2017). Her poems, articles and reviews have appeared in major international publications. As director and founder of ‘Poetry in the House’, she hosted monthly poetry readings at Lauderdale House, London, from 1996 to 2015. In addition to her philanthropic activities, she served twice on the board of trustees of the Poetry Society in the UK. www.shanta-acharya.com