We will sing the truth, the truth.
There was an artist once.
An artist once, in a small room.
In a small room like a nest,
In a small room like a nest in a big city,
He lived like a deep pain,
A deep pain that has no passport to come out.
He was not famous. He had no cashmere shawl on his shoulders. Had not the turban on his head. His birth was not recorded in the census. His death too will not be recorded. Yet, he was an energetic person. He didn’t give up his painting. On the walls of his room he painted varieties of plants and trees and creepers. But he didn’t know how to put the leaves on them.
Painted the tree trunks
Painted the branches
He painted even the thin lines of twigs
Painted the roots
Painted the roots that pierce
That pierce and go deep down the earth
And he painted the roots hanging from the branches too.
The leaves didn’t bloom on the plants and trees.
Desperate, putting his hand on his head
The artist sat down
Sat down like the forgotten line of a song
And stayed like the deep pain
That has no passport to come out.
The roots he had painted grew to be a trunk, the trunk grew to be branches, the branches became a tree, one tree became many. Became many and covered the roof. Covered the roof and prevented the light. It became a web of a forest and covered the four walls. There was not enough space even to put your finger. The artist’s beard grew, his nails grew, but the leaves on the branches did not grow. Outside of lis room the cycle of seasons turned, but the season of growth did not enter his room.
Though he wandered and lost his way in the forest that he had created out of himself, the leaves did not appear.
The leaves did not appear
The fresh green he saw
Did not descend to his brush
The branches did not turn green
Did not get the life-breath.
The pain that the leaves did not appear grew within the artist. That pain gathered in the throat of the painted trees. The pain of the trees made the throat of the artist swell. The pain swelled and became an wound. Unable to express it, he suffered day and night, and night and day he suffered and said, “Lord Shiva, I can’t live, I can’t die.”
Words came to the lips of silence. Look, hail the Lord Shiva, Hail him, glory be to him. The colourless dream got an eye to see, the force of the sound pierced the wound, and from the wound a little bird, with colourful wings, tiny eyes, and a little beak flew out. It flew up and it flew down. Flying from branch to branch, twig to twig, the little bird brought the joy of touch to the trees. The bird began to sing. It was a wonder-filled song. It was a song of light. Glory be to Shiva. Glory be to the imagination of the artist. Hail him.
The bird sang a song of ripened fields
A song of the ripened fields to the forests
Singing it leaped from branch to branch
Leaped from twig to twig
Leaping poured the greenness on to them Greenness overflowed as the bird sang
The overflowing greenness became a net
Without a way out The bird was caught
In its own net.
The song of the little bird
Had the taste of the worlds beyond
And as the years turned,
Here, the trees grew and blossomed.