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Spirit of the drought, Arthur Streeton 1895

Tropical storms built these leaves of homes. Without promised light of the holiest sun, they are with holes now, their flesh vanishing in the air of this consciousness. I calculate their disappearance by counting the number of dawns I have walked to the sanctuary of the monk. I ask him why should I believe in his dreaming eyes, that his hymn for invoking the goddess is rather irritating now when my leaves have been eaten up by the ancient reptile.

So my land awaits. Rather my lands await. Both that of the ancestors and the descendants. Both desperate in their timeless longing for me. It is only the truth that, I too, dream of them in my fragility from the fears of half crops, of soil without seeds, of waterless fruits. So the drought stretches beyond my sleep of this and the other worlds. Deserts take over the mountains of my grandfather. And in haze I sit counting what’s left of leaves of homes built by tropical storms.

Vaishali Paliwal

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