And we walked along the green-gilded road,
Thick in the warm syrup of spring,
Mother and I alone just the two of us,
To pick the lilacs grown tall by the bridge.
The water shimmered underneath in the sunshine,
Tumbling golden along the musky wood,
Mother reached and pulled down a branch
Full of luscious purple cascading with fragrance,
A scent that everywhere spread
The earth’s wild exuberance,
And I realized that the world was no ordinary place.

We carried back to the farmhouse our treasure,
Giddy as pirates who had just plundered heaven.
We need to get them in warm water, Mother said,
And crush the stems a good bit first.
We did both,
And my life started spinning on a different orbit
Around a vase full of joy on the kitchen table,
For clearly through the window I could see
The fleeting face of spring:
There he was, an olive-skinned cherub
With opal eyes and a smile like a daffodil.

Anyway they won’t last very long, Mother said,
Lilacs don’t last very long at all.
We have to enjoy them while we have them.
Now, that was forty springs ago.
I was four years old.

– Atmatyagi Kutt.


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