The garden alongside my childhood home,
Not properly-kempt, no ordered flower-beds,
But straggly-sweet, trod upon by my growing feet,
Like Alice, I can drink the memory-potion, shrink, and with the golden key, enter it still....
I can see the five green coconut trees, all in a row,
One was cut down to garage the car, and then there were four.
I can see the orange betelnuts fallen on the ground,
Gather them in my skirt and dry them brown on the roof.
I can see the guava tree by the pond,
Crows pecking at the hidden red heart of the pale green fruit.
I can see the miserly mango tree,
Sharing its fruit only once every two years.
I can see the barren jackfruit tree, gaunt against the pond-horizon,
Its bare branches mocked by the flourishing flame-cannas at its feet.
I can smell the shy white petals of the dolanchampa,
And the orange-stemmed, white-starred shiuli;
Gather them carefully, the autumn grass is wet with dew,
And green caterpillars crowd under the shiuli leaves.
I can smell the secret tang of the lemon-leaves
And the green chilli's punch-you-in-the-nose spice.
I can almost-touch the nayantara's magenta-softness,
Caress the tiny jasmine with fragrant-fingertips,
Or prick them on the spoilt, sickly rose - more thorns than flowers.
Neglecting the tagar's scattered white bounty,
I can reach up to pick the sprawling hibiscus-cousins -
Pink unfurled five-petalled panchamukhi and blood-red furled lankajaba;
Or the malatilata bending under the overburden of pink-and-white blooms
Weeping near the well in the garden.
I do not know what flowers grow there now.
I tend to the memory-weeds which grow within me,
And, sometimes, water them with tears.
PLEASE DO UNLOCK A GARDEN-MEMORY WITH YOUR GOLDEN KEY AND SHARE IT WITH US.