Sestina: Fishing For Freedom by Aruna Gurumurthy



We smelled oodles of freedom
in the burnt leaves and wildflowers beside the lake one autumn afternoon.
With curious minds and fishing gear,
sauntering through the creek-side at Jordan Lake
we were proud spectators
of our little sprightly girl’s love for fishing.

She said “Mama, come on, let’s go fishing.”
On benches, bridges, and docks, we feel the musty scents of freedom,
and with some sass, we shake, we wiggle, and roll like a swarm of spectators.
Her dad shared her eye for the picturesque site for that afternoon
the flow of water kissing and lapping against a wooden log at the lake.
But there weren’t any fish there, so we treaded along with our gear.

We ambled around, up and down the mossy mountains, gearing
up for what was next. We found the coveted spot where fish,
pearls of oysters and crocodiles swam together in the lake.
Crocodiles for real, or those pouncing in her mind? There was freedom
all over, there was something magical in the air that afternoon.
And boy! In this subtle alchemy, after all we are innocent spectators.

Our kitten turned keen fishing enthusiast with an army of spectators—
the emotion, the bug had bitten her, and she was in high gear.
The world is scented with the itsy-bitsy scenes of an enchanting afternoon
where mother nature and baby fish
flicker in each other’s cuddle, in mellow synchrony. This swirl of freedom
wafts through the air in perfect harmony in the muddy lake.

Oh, what oomph to my soul this coming together of life and the lake
brings, once again, we become our own spectators!
We breathe love, we see visions, we embrace freedom.
Kissing the horizon where life meets fantasy, we set out again with our gear,
this time wishing that her hook lands the fish.
Now that would make this a blessed day and a finer afternoon.

Don’t we all want to have blessed days and fine afternoons?
When air, water, and the rocks camouflage in a blissful interplay at the lake.
And caught in this mystery of the three layers of life, is a tiny minnow fish.
It grabs the worm bait and lo and behold, we become speechless spectators
of a child’s play. Oh, the smear of delight on her face, she is geared
to fly with wings of hope, swimming in a stream of fantasies, scenting the freedom.

One fine afternoon, we played the game of the fisher and spectator.
While her dreams bathe in the bounty of Jordan Lake, with fishing gear
and warm spirits, she catches the minnow fish with tears of freedom.

©2020 Aruna Gurumurthy


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Aruna Gurumurthy is an author and observer of human nature. Since her childhood in Mumbai, India, she has embarked on a journey of creative exploration and, within her short prose poems, tries to capture the beauty and art in the world. From wisdom and discovery to development in “Diya”, to perceptions and change in “Buddha in The Brain”, and celebration of love and motherhood in “Puppet Dolls”, Aruna writes on a variety of themes and empowers people from all walks of life. An author of seven books of poetry since 2015, Aruna’s body of work also appears in the regional anthologies Heron Clan V (2018) & VI (2019) and the literary journals FewerThan500 and What it is to Be A Woman, reflecting an insightful journey of struggles and jubilations on the path to peace. She lives with her loving family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


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