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Yarns
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August

The Weekly Yarns

August 2023

Emboldened by the resounding success of The Daily Verse, we have started The Weekly Yarns, where we upload stories, flash fiction, anecdotes and musings of writers. If you have a story to share, please send it to editor@thewiseowl.art

Week 4, August 2023

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Girl and Cat

His Chanting Bard

By Hein Min Htun

Dramatis Personae
Hazel
Philip
Nichole (Attendant to Hazel)

 

Scene 1 The House

(Soothing music. A starry moon-lit night. The frontal façade of a huge brick house. A few beds of chrysanthemums lie scattered nearby. A stage light shines on the open window of the house. Hazel stands there; the upper part of her body is flooded in the light.)

 

(Enters Philip on a horse.)

Philip: Bless my soul, what a lovely little moon I behold!
Withstanding the northern gale invincible and cold,
Thy still and divine rest afloat at the window up above,
Strewing glitter over the route trodden by thy love.
Thy daintily-chiseled lips switching into a splendid curve
Is an utterly ambrosial prospect I do cherish to observe.

Hazel: Upon thy stately advent astride the ebony stallion,
Sighs tuned into hums of joy, nay, my eyes with sparkles laden
Transformed themselves into the brightest heavenly stars.
My love, a glimpse of thy steady entry from the terrain afar

Rendered a coolest rain of peace shower upon my firey heart.
Such is thy bold blood to have strived along, mocking evils in the dark.

 

Philip: Let there be a thousand furlongs or much longer,
To be entranced by thy verse shall I with all my might endeavour.
My love the divine, flow down thine onyx-glazed lock as far as Thames can go.
Thy perfumed strands shall kiss my nose as the far-off wind comes to blow.
With delicate words which leap dancing out of thy lips, weave
Poetry into this crisp raven air and haunt the silent hour’s sleep.

Hazel: Dying for my well-woven verse, thou passed a vast stretch of land.
Thou would whole-heartedly exert to conquer even if it be an Arabian sand.
To appease thine ears’ thirst, shall I breathe out many a mellifluous part
Which will gaily stream through the ear caverns to reach thine expectant heart.

 

(POEM) The moon wakes up when darkness falls
From her sleep prolonged as the span of the sun’s travel.
A sprawling profusion of distant diamond balls
With tireless winks they ne’er cease to sparkle.

Beside the spring flowing cold, violas grow beautiful,
Sucking the moon’s blood and drinking the freshest dew.
The entire town of vibrant primroses for miles smoothly roll.
They all gaze up, envious of the sail of the pearly moon.

The wild wind carries a faint strain from an oak afar;

A peasant and his lady warbling a sonnet beneath the tree
When in the dark purple sky, the brightest the stars are.
His daring kiss to his coy love surpasses all the prevailing beauty.

Philip: Now, my heart has appeased its wild desire.
I dread, thy sweet strain, nightingales would mimic.
Thy voice is a sprightly wave infused with the power of magic;
It gives my body a lovely tingle with its subtle witchery spike;
It drips through and terminates upon my heart with a gentle strike.
O my dearest, thou will seal my words inside; leave it unknown:
When the forthcoming moon shines, thou will run away with me from thy home.

 

Hazel : My love, thine utterance ruffled the serenity of my mind.
I fear thy prompt arrival will not come in sight when the mission is timed,
and that my expectation will be confounded if some evil occurrence comes about.
I shall be dressed in a pearly kirtle with coral flowers wrought.
I envisage our ride over dales and hills when the moon smiles bright.
The day is certain to come when I shall escape from my existence shackled tight.
In my heart arises a sense of thrill at the inward picture of a honey-sweet adventure with thee.
Let us ride far and disappear into an untrodden nook ere my prohibitive birth-givers see.

 

Philip: Dispel thy doubt in my speech, my sweet lover.
For words from the heart are purer than sylvan water.
Thou art a star dropped form Heaven into the palm of my life.
By God, thy future abode will be concern-free as my beloved wife.
Now is the murky hour which murmurs to thee in the breeze to recline

Upon thy velvet couch with the drowsy vista of the moon sublime.
My lady, rosy-cheeked, let me breathe thy brunette flow ere my departure.
When another full moon sets in, for sure shall I ride hither, brimmed with vigor.

 

(The stage light dims to darkness.)

 

Scene 2_ Hazel’s Room

(Pleasant music. Morning. Hazel is ensconced upon a seat, drawing. A small round table a few steps off with a beautiful vase of flowers on it.)

(Enters Nichole, the attendant.)

Nichole: Mistress, for my imprudent intrusion I beseech thee to pardon me.
My un-summoned presence may have scared off thy soul’s peace.
On winter morns, the powerless sun yields no vigour-instilling shadow.
Hence, revive thine idle temper with a draught of tea and berries mellow.

Hazel:  My kind Nichole, I was not, in sooth, enraged by thy’s surprise.
Such is a deed of care and my heart-felt thanks for thy mind wise.
I wish thee to deposit the healthy refreshments upon the wooden stand.
For my artistic adorning have I assigned both my eyes and right hand.

(Nichole walks up to the painting. She regards it in awe.)

Nichole: Good gracious! My eyes are blessed; a sight of absolute beauty before me_

A summer spring slithers by a lovers’ homely hut down the mountains steep.
I wonder whereof such an artistic notion came; my eyes can penetrate not thine inside.
I beseech thee not to mind; my tongue will venture that thy heart has a secret to hide.
My mistress, I shall not be deceived; art is a product of realities from one’s heart indeed.

 

Hazel: Nichole, thy bold supposition comes as a jester’s whim into my ears.
Doubt pollutes thy thoughts and away from the wise brain doubt, the devil, steers.
In sooth, the current state of nature with the sun’s meagre share allures
My mind to the enjoyment of sketching a summer spectacle to delight viewers.

 

Nichole: Oh my mistress, how foolish I was to have stained thy pure soul with my audacity.
Years have scratched few wrinkles upon my visage, yet still I remain young innerly.
I dread my folly’s disclosure of my inward imperfection will toss thy temper,
As tempest vexes the ocean. Hear my entreaty to lay upon my ungroomed manner
Thy kind pardon. For thy pleasure of solitude shall I withdraw into the vault below.

 

Hazel: Oh Nichole, thine insightful utterance declares thy nature loud_ a scrupulous lady.
My fragile emotion is a feather sailing in summer whirl, yet insensitive to such a triviality.
Thou can seek the amusement of disappearing down the flora-strewn lane,
Whereas I shall be at struggle inking upon the slate my last vibrant stain.

Nichole: Oh thanks, my cautious mind! I am alerted for an ongoing clamour to reach thine ears;
A nuptial rejoice of noble bloods prevails, proliferated by speech carriers.
Elizbia went wild upon the encounter with the son of Vinzenk’s fortune-possessor.
On her fawn chariot rides through the town, she throws onto his land a ruby flower.
The Duke sent Scott a composition of entreaty, unable to bear his daughter’s queer ill.

The supreme-title holders cheer and hail the grandiose feast against poor Philip’s will.

 

Hazel: The echo trembling the entire Vinzenk has escaped my knowledge and ears
For I am a cloistress sealed inside this abode, sighing through my granted years.
Time is a stubborn miser; hence, I herein grasp the initiative in tolling the death knell
For the prolonged stretch of intercourse. Nichole, my dear, I bid thee farewell.

 

Nichole: Adieu, my dearest mistress.

 

(Exeunt Nichole)


(Hazel stands up. She walks a few metres up the stage and stops, facing the audience.)

Hazel: Her account flowed through my ears in the form of a dormant volcano's sudden spew of fury;

All my veins are set on flames, nay, it stung my heart, bringing upon tears bloody;

Want of capability to quench my inward hell, yet my persistent might against the deluge of fire.


The Nile’s lips are buried in my heart’s tears for unfulfilled is her ardent desire.
Yet, of unrivalled nobility would my heart be if true love brings forth acts of selflessness.
I shall strain it to bleed if its pain would rain upon my love as the shower of graceful bless.
I foresee Philip’s imminent struggle against the choppy sea on his harsh journey with me.
Far from his fair moon by the universe’s division, the eastern light is ne’er weakened to be
Upon his forlorn break in his aura resplendent; as such, my beloved Philip's life is meant to be.
Upon the majestic vessel, my Philip with Elizbia would pass with ease across life’s rough sea.
Cruel indifference would be my disguise to play a foe against him and wear out his love for me.

(The stage darkens.)

Scene 3 _ The House

(Sad music. A full-moon night. Hazel is seen at the window of her house.)

Hazel: What a vision! Heaven drains tears of opal, draped in her nightly apparel of gloom.
In a solitary pearly coach, the virgin goddess of the night is glimpsed to dully loom.
Her wondrous beauty in vain rivalry with her crestfallen expression in such an ill-clad night;
Not a trace of joy upon her, yet loneliness I smell, notwithstanding her striving to shine
bright.
The moon’s full bloom over this nook of the world; dyeing silver upon the yonder green
mane.
Yet, a thousand suns of the dead years too cowardly for the wild swirl within me to tame.
For my beloved, I dread not to slay my heart to blood, nay, to strain my eyes for tears to
drop.
As the moon is glad to weep for her loved ivory lotus to splendidly expand in her silvery
sob.
O dearest Philip, never set thy loving eyes upon me for my brutal scheme out of my pure
love.

(Enters Philip, riding the horse. The stage light falls on him.)

Philip: My sweet lady, hail thy love from within. No doubt, thine eyes shall not deceive thee
Upon my punctual appearance in accordance with my swear. The night is a wonder to see:
The fair moon with her smile beholds us from above Heaven’s glitters-studded awning;
Plagued with her cheer, the flowers’ beautiful sways; the crisp air and streams singing.

Nature’s futile effort in giving birth to bliss in my heart; yet it leaps and dances in glee
Upon my lady’s wondrous sight. Oh! Now, my bliss flees upon what my eyes see.
Tonight, unlike the full-moon over the Ganges, I hardly discern thy celestial smile upon me.
Such is coldness sealed upon thy visage; thy hazel eyes no longer bear sparkling galaxy;
Unseen is thy response of awe mixed with delight. My eyes art not liars, my loving lady,
For I sense within; thy coldness chills my heart and I am saddened by thine unwelcoming beauty.

Hazel: Hear my words, Philip. I offer my apologies for I am solely in my casual attire.
I hesitate to articulate a foul utterance for I dread thy judgement of me as a heartless liar.
Let me herein disclose; my heart has sought peace upon the bosom of my newly-sprung love.

Philip I regret for thy weariness of coming hither to ride off with me through a long passage rough.

Philip: O my dearest and most loving, my heart thy sweet words tore in motion slow, and I pray
The devil would curse my ears. My Hazel, I shall not be deceived ; such is thine appalling jest. Say.

Hazel. Believe thine ears. My utterance is of truth I dare say even from within.
Philip, a new man dwells in my inner sanctuary. If deception in love is a sin,
My willingness is to embrace its ill consequences, yet after my life with him ceases.
My mind is not in its fancy to chant poetry, but a love tale thine ears shall not miss.
Superior suitors would be defeated by a squire’s craft and fashion of wooing.
When the murk falls, for his lady’s delight, he would be down here with his javelin, cooing.
Shawls of delicate fur were dispatched to serve as defenders against the chill of winter morns

Our eyeless love is ignorant of the stupid saying that we art not the same rank borns.
O love is a lawless form, issuing nothing to avoid. Indeed, true love surpasses wealth in value.
Out of my heart, a new blossom of love blooms when he plucked me a rose in a burning hue.

Philip, I am against any hindrance; My decisive heart is prepared to sell all of it solely to him.
And, thou would be wise to shower all thy love and kindness upon thine Elizbia slim and prim.

Philip.: Disclose how it came to thy notice, unsought.
In thy un-crooked tongue have I no doubt.

Hazel: News flies like the wind, creeping and and slipping through Vinzenk’s most inner.
And, the news of our grand occasion will reach thine ears sooner.

Philip: How cruel my loving Hazel. I did not even in my unconscious state bear distrust in thee.
Thy mind is the sun-drenched clouds with darkening lines concealed; now my heart believes.
My fair lady, I beseech thee to shrill thy last strain ere the brewing dark would thy charm hide.
Unto my breathings cease shall thy celestial voice be warbling, locked in my secrete vault inside.

Hazel: Such an act is a show of my long-lost heart. Pardon me for thy plea.
My heart fell under the loving control of someone with no intention to flee.
Therefore, irresponsive it is and it would ever be to thy parting request.

Philip: Good-bye Hazel, my most adorable and dear.

I vow, thee, my heart would never tire.

Hazel.:  I bid thee farewell or thou shall be deprived of my sight
While you are straining upon me through the darkest hour of night.

(Hazel fades out.)

Philip: Poor Philip, dead is my life the hour Hazel disappears from me.
God, look upon my woe. Is this the way my life is destined to be?
Nothing now I am for the loss of love; indeed, love is the supplier of soul to life.
When my lady Hazel has vanished, my life will wither and lose its passion blithe.

(Hazel appears at the window. She looks at Philip standing with his back to her.)

Devoid of love, life would bear no fragrance nor sweetness, but a mere hollow form__
Soundless, senseless. Dreary death shall be of merriment, regardless of my poor face marred by many a gnawing worm.
The suns and stars to come shall consist of mere sighs in Elizbia’s lonesome proud abode,
For a thousand times would my heart be broken upon the reflection of the miles I rode
Solely to awe in my lady’s loveliest beauty and to please my soul by her voice witchery.
Now that my life is left to the persecution of sufferings, I might as well embrace the peace of tragedy.
This shinny sword of mine I proudly hold would liberate me from this cursed fold.

(Philip takes out his sword and stabs himself.)

Hazel: My darling, my love, How daring! Philip, hear me?

This instant, I am obliged to tramp down unto thee.

(Hazel runs down to the dead body. She stands beside it.)

Heavens! How terribly I loathe the vision before me!
Such is thy bloody doom I shall never imagine to see.
O Devil, hear me. I boldly offer thee my eyes. Pluck them out, pray.
Thy boiling blood suffused with thy burning passion is sweet ‘n aromatic; June-born roses
Hopelessly struggle to over-bleed themselves to mimic thy reddened hue, out of malice.
My love, foolish is thine attempt to escape love’s suffocating ties.
Uncover thy hiding eyes and beam upon thy loved lady.
My darling would never wake up in fear of my cruelty.
Evil is me who slew her love when the hour is dark and dim;
Not by a weapon, but by cleaving the second life within him.
Monstrous murderer, the worst of all. Heaven and I do sense this.
For the rest of the dates, my vice would lurk within me, haunting my wits.
My love is in the hug of death with his soul undisturbed and in peace.
Yet, boredom shall not strike thy sleep, for thy love shall come unto thee.
My silky lock is now of no worth, yet useful enough to choke my life up.
Ere my senses’ perpetual deliverance from their service, I shall grant thee a final kiss.
O Philip, my darling, our peaceful dwelling awaits us in the faraway land out of this place.


(Hazel stands up and divides the mass of her hair into both of her hands. She winds her hair around her neck, and then strangles her throat. Her body collapses. Her head lands on Philip, lying dead. The light dims over the stage. Mournful music is heard, coming from within.)

(CURTAINS)

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Week 3, August 2023

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Pastel Bird

The Little Dove

By Rupa Anand

It is 1.10 in the afternoon and I have just settled down to eat my lunch in the TV room when suddenly I hear a phatak sound on the veranda. It appears as if something has collided with the glass panes of the living room doors. Placing the tray on the sofa beside me and calling out loudly to the houseboy, I rush out to the adjacent portico. I see a little dove on the red chair. I think that I know what has happened. It has, in full flight, hit the glass and is momentarily stunned. Not seeing it move or flutter at all, I pick it up. It still doesn’t move. I hold it gently in the palm of my hands and ask Kuldip to quickly fetch some water. He sprinkles a few drops on the bird’s eyes and face. We hope to see a revival, but there are no signs of it. The dove’s eyes are closed. Its body feels warm against my skin. I sit in the chair and wait with it resting in my hands. Minutes pass. I ask for a box to be brought where I can keep it safe for a while. But it seems to be of no use. The dove’s neck droops completely and we register no heartbeat. It must have been in full flight when it crashed headlong into the glass pane, resulting in its immediate death.    I realise that the dove is no more. I am the one stunned. Five minutes ago, it was flying around and now its life has been snuffed out and it lies lifeless in the palm of my hands.

Often a collision will temporarily stun a bird that flies off, seemingly recovered, in a few moments. But many times these birds die later, from internal bleeding or brain injury. On the internet I learned that more than 100 million birds are killed every year due to collisions with glass surfaces. Glass is invisible to birds, and usually reflects the images of trees, bushes, potted plants, and the sky or the natural environment behind the glazing.  Birds see this reflected natural habitat, but not the glass itself and therefore fly directly into it. Glass is a horrible and unforgiving killer, mutilating and destroying these beautiful creatures.

I discovered later, again on the internet, that there are many solutions for preventing such catastrophes. Some ways of eliminating or reducing reflection are - incorporating bird-safe glass (that appears normal to humans but is visible to birds); installing exterior window screens; using etched glass; drawing patterns with soap or just leaving the surfaces a little dirty; and drawing vertical lines with a highlighter on the inside surface of the glass. Birds see ultraviolet light, we do not. Sometimes, lines of fluorescent ink on glass, when exposed to ultraviolet light, make the surface visible to birds.

I am sad. The dove rests on the table. It is 1.30 pm. Kuldip and I check for signs of life. There are none. I ask Kuldip to dig a small resting place in the corner of the garden next to the yellow Tabubea. I stroke the dove’s beautiful feathers. Gently, we place it down into the earth. I softly chant the Maha Mrityunjaya Japa and wish it peace on its onward journey. An instant between life and the afterlife is covered in just twenty minutes. I return indoors and cannot finish my remaining lunch.

 

To the Little Dove

From this world, you are gone,

I know for sure you will return.

It seems your light is withdrawn,

Until your beauty re-appears again.

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Week 2, August 2023

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Mic

The Stone is too Dry

By Santosh Bakaya

"That is the land of lost content, 

I see it shining plain:

The happy highways where I went,

And cannot come again."

 

           ~Alfred Edward Housman, [1859- 1936] A Shropshire Lad
 

When I came across the above lines from a poem I had read long back in school, I was assaulted by a mélange of memories- childhood pranks, slithering up and down trees, chasing butterflies, curiously crouching over anthills, being mesmerised by squirrels, listening to the grasshopper’s fiddle,  singing hey diddle diddle, laughing at the very image of the cow jumping over the moon, and the absurdity of the dish running away with the spoon, negotiating our way through brambles and clapping in juvenile mirth at the chattering monkeys perched atop trees.


Ah, those joyous days, the happy highways, the lost alleys, those swings, those hillocks, the kite-flying escapades!
And those numerous skits that we performed at school.

 
But, alas, I was invariably thrown out of many a skit, because of the company I kept. The company of that round-eyed imp of mischief, who, everyone knew, was my great buddy.
 

But, to my utter amazement, I wasn’t thrown out of, ‘There is a Hole in the Bucket,’ and needless to say, I was the happiest ninth grader.,

“There is a hole in the bucket,”
“Then mend it, dear Henry, dear Henry”.
“With what shall I mend it, with what?”


I was enacting the role of Henry in the skit, and still remember how the teacher, who was not particularly fond of me, because of my riotous ways, wanted me to put more lethargy in my gait. Many a time I had been at the receiving end of the wrath of this teacher.


“You are Henry! And mind you, Henry is lethargic, slow. Rein in your energy, Santosh”.
 

But, I was too restive, too boisterous, and it was very difficult for me to rein in my energy to enact the role of a lazy and slow Henry.
But towards the end, I had rehearsed so much that I had become the very epitome of sloth.

 
I still remember the way, at the end of the skit, I said, in utter frustration, “But there is a hole in the bucket, dear Liza”. Liza threw a string of glares at me and stomped off the stage.

“In the end, I will upturn the bucket on her head.” My friend-foe, enacting the role of Liza, had said to the teacher during the rehearsal.
“No, you just walk off in anger.  Don’t do that!” The teacher had rejoined.
But this was a wonderful opportunity for my friend to take revenge, and she wouldn’t let it go. She started walking towards the exit, then on second thought, came back, and picked up the bucket.
And upturned it on my head!

 
In the thunderous applause that followed, she did not hear my incoherent and indignant ranting. But, what was worse was, as I went into the green room, I saw the teacher ruffling her hair and patting her on the back. When I fell in her line of vision, the teacher, merely smiled in my direction.
I seethed in rage.


My friend, sorry foe’s, revenge was complete.
What revenge, you might ask.
Well, we were in the ninth standard, and till the eighth standard, it was she who had always secured the first position in the annual exams. But it was for the first time that her first position had been usurped by someone- by me. She was crestfallen! How could she let the opportunity of revenge go?
 

It was a stooped me beating a hasty retreat out of the room, but not before catching the teacher and the taught exchanging meaningful looks and smiling.
The enigma of their smiles was a notch higher than  Mona Lisa's.  
Were both of them in cahoots?  I shuddered at the thought.
Remember, the teacher was not particularly fond of me?

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Week 1, August 2023

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Grateful

Flash Fiction

By LJ Caporusso

Flash Fiction1.png

Eva

I watch my cat approach him.
She missed you.
Really?
He picks her up. Eva, you missed me?
My cat offers no indication that she even knows her name.
But she doesn’t try to escape.

See? She loves you.
That so, Eva? You’re in love with me?
I smile. Yes.

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No Feel good

I climb into bed beside him.
I no feel good.
He kisses the top of my head. What can I do?
I... I need to complain.
He chuckles. Anything else?
I think about it. Then snuggle up to him.
Yes.
Okay what?
I need pity. I sniffle. Lots of it.

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