Silver Lining

Palming my ears tightly to block
The discordant sounds of harsh hatred
With tears streaming down my cheeks in a flurry
I exited the confines of my locked-down house
And ran up the steps to the terrace
An escape from the virulent verbal negativity 
Of malevolent and pernicious social communication
That spread wilder than the prevalent pandemic did.

The darkness of the terrace somehow was soothing
(I had not turned on the outdoor lights when coming up)
Lying down upon the rough terracotta-tiled floor
I closed my eyes, the soothing darkness intensifying.
A summer sea breeze from the Marina
Caressed my hot skin and troubled mind—
I found my breath and inner silence.
The cooling comfort kissed my eyes open
And set them upon the sky—
It was dark, surprisingly dark
Though a full moon should have risen.
‘Are you, dear sky, reflecting
The agonizing gloom of the earth below you?’
The sky answered not, but as I looked on
Meditative energy enveloped me
The darkness of the sky was not foreboding
And the full moon had risen, happily sailing
Across the sky, but hidden
Obscured by dark stratocumulus clouds. 
I waited, patiently like a pupil
Awaiting a glance, a word of wisdom
From my guru.
As if in response, I saw a brilliant lacing
A silvery lining glistening the edges of a cloud—

The light was there, all through the darkness
Light is there in spite of the darkness
Light shows itself expelling the darkness
When the desire to perceive it is ardent.
Though a sombre tunnel I was in
Devoid I was not of guiding light to take me through it 
A guiding light, the silver lining in the adversity
I found only through inner meditative silence.

No longer did I need to palm my ears tightly
The discordant sounds block
No longer did I need to close my eyes shut
The virulence of the world to expel
The experience elevating my emotions
To balanced acceptance, I went back 
To the world, I belonged, strengthened with hope
And the faith to discern the light
My being resonating with mystical consciousness
And the unifying sound OM!

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar, a widely published Indian poet, writer, editor, English teacher, and a “book” in the Human Library, says poetry is not different from her. A recipient of literary awards and recognition, she uses the power of her words to sensitize her readers about environmental issues, mental health, and the need to break the shackles of an outdated society. Vidya is the author of two poetry books, The Flautist of Brindaranyam (in collaboration with her photographer husband, Shankar Ramakrishnan), and The Rise of Yogamaya (an effort to create awareness about mental health.) She finds meaning in her life through yoga and mandalas.