A Lullaby For Home

The floating white fire in the night sky dims
An outline looms, is golden-hewn
Across the crag, beyond the clouds
Our home seen in the horizon.

It’s no mere delf, a realm at the hilly toe
Halls of diamond, a silver grotto from days of old
Far down below, rills of jewels
Fall and tumble, fountains still flow.

At the cliff’s edge, we gaze and smile
Happy faces once weather-beaten
We traipsed for miles, our heads covered
To hide the shame that we lost our abode.

In rain and storms of hail, we bled
Our eyes focussed on the end
Where the thrush and eagles will fly
Oak and pine will welcome us soon
The scent of air, guide and chaperone.

We murmur notes of fog and snow
Passing by rocks of jagged stone
Through towns of wealth and lakes distrait
Inching closer, waiting domicile.

The quarters always gleamed bright
Seats of silks, burnished floors, a crystal sight
Our looks of hope, well-pleased, content
Even before we tapped on the door.

For those asleep, we play a song
For those missing, we sound the bell
We walk past fields and stacks of hay
The vales recounting the number of days.

If we falter, our brothers will support
If we are wounded, our mates will heal
A family knit, red-threaded unit
To stand beside in dire need.

The floating white fire in the night sky dims
An outline looms, is golden-hewn
Across the crag, beyond the clouds
The mountains call, a lullaby for home.

The Butterfly and The Raven (A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty)

Sword raised, he could still the heavens with his prowess
The commander with jade eyes, a face with pronounced jawlines and sharpness not slight, fairer than lace
Fringes whipped by the wind of death; dark hair shone almost violet beneath the despairing sun
Hundreds followed him, refusing to leave, yet he yelled for them to escape, to protect themselves, to run.
The grim war seemed to go on for centuries
Lands demolished, fields of smoke and soot, barren trees
Like a comet, he whizzed past the battlefield
At his feet, enemies keeled.
Seven opponents he countered
The final foe cursed him and threw a dagger; his eyesight lost, in agony, he floundered
Drenched in crimson, but he did not die, collapsing on the cliff of umber
Falling prey instead to an unending slumber.
Carried away by his men
To the other end of the glen
Made to rest
Away from the insane bloody fest
Concealed by shrubbery and thorn
In the care of a red-haired young lad he had once rescued, who appeared forlorn.
Lashes on alabaster cheeks, dishevelled mop on the brow
The warrior elegant and graceful in his sleep… It grated on the ears, the calls of the scavenging crow.
Red blossoms strewn, but they grew not on soil but on flesh raw
Birds the colour of midnight hover, beaks of ebony ready to caw
A graveyard fit for the Grim Reaper
A sterling chrysalis pulsated, wedged between two ominous cypresses deeper
Drops began descending
The sorrow of the sky sobbing
It’s born, a butterfly
Wings spread wide; to become the harbinger of change, it shall try
Plumes sprinkle luminescence as it ascends high
The tombs transform, lush trees amidst a spring orchard, the newly-birthed cherries happily sigh
Flying towards the heavens, it ceases all grief
Almost touching the clear azure, the emerald cliff
So dazzling, the ravens blinded
Their beady eyes can no longer see, cannot catch the butterfly, dominance grinded.
I won’t perish, not until I’ve taken them down to hell with me
I won’t depart, not until I’ve ended this warring spree
Screams, wails, pleas… My nation beckons
I can still move, I can still wield weapons
Friends and comrades seek aid
Once more, I must unsheathe my blade
Behead the ravenous beasts that flock
Quicken the hands of the clock
Tired of needless tears
I must wake up to quell their fears.
The boy smiled, “Your armour, Sir”
“Have you been waiting long, young man?” He ruffled the vermillion-hued hair
“Quite so”
“Very well then. I shall now depart with my steel and bow
The carrion crows that feast… I shall go in for the kill
Till the rocky scape turns into a scarlet rill.”
“Ah, so you’ve come back from the dead?”
“Certainly,” smirked the commander. “I would, a thousand times over, till your end has been met.”
“So, who kissed you awake?”
“Why, you of course! The shrieks of the ravens were much too loud for a tranquil dream… Thank you, I can now place your head on a stake!
My iris you pricked
Surely you wouldn’t mind being nicked?
See, the Sol breaks through the clouds grey
The fairies of light bless, rather a good omen, I daresay
Waltz with me on this meadow blooming with roses
For a hundred years of blood-red intimacy, until you collapse, until your eye closes.”

Dibyasree Nandy began writing three years ago, after completing her double Master degrees. She has authored poetry and short-story collections as well as novels. Her works have been published in more than 40 anthologies and literary journals. She lives with her parents and grandma.