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That Dark Dawn
Thirty Years Ago






As morning opens its beak

and drinks the sunshine nectar,

crimson rays erase shadows

of last night’s darkness.

Hushed memories flutter their wings

and recall that sacrilege today.

Divine music graces, as it did then,

a sacred ambiance pours devotion

into those thirsty, faithful ears.

The hustling love, the bustling charm

 effuses admiration, as devotees

enjoy the cool breeze. Washing away

doubts, multitudinous feet throng

toward that serene, sacred hub of

incredible grace. The waters shimmer,

the fish gaze. Devotees splash feet,

hands, eyes, all mesmerized by that

grand reflection. A purity sops up the

darkness within. So many feet

sipping self-surrender, so many hands

folded in humility, as they enter this haven.

Hundreds feeling blessed -- in

this gracious company of

the baptized and the seekers.

The mesmerizing charisma,

the rhapsodic aura allures,

and invites them all over.

Thousands of feet tread softly

recalling those splinters of history

those unforgotten pasts. Those

 scabrous blemishes call them today

to remember those horrific wounds of

unfathomable indignity.


The pitter-patter of a child’s running feet

around the parkarma, echoes a rhythmic beat.

The hurried feet of his worrisome mother scramble.

She embraces him as his sun-blushed cheeks

remind her of her long-gone brother, who

died somewhere here amidst the barrage of bullets.

The slow-paced, calloused feet of an old man

remind him of those youthful days of happiness

now a mere melancholic mirage. His solitude

accentuates his memories of a young son lost

in oblivion, unknown, unlived, and branded by

unseen danger. He wonders about those

grandchildren denied to him, their chance to

walk today with him in enchanted bliss.

His tears-filled eyes still find peace, wisdom

and celestial guidance in autumnal days of his life.

The arthritic feet of an old woman supported by wheels,

pace slowly. She remembers those days when

she raced as a child the same parkarma

with her sisters. She remembers her childhood

before bullets pierced their convictions,

before her baby sisters drowned in that

bloodied pool. Her feet, like history, struggle a

burdened gait stooping to pick up those unseen

shards of memories.

The henna-painted feet of a shy bride in red

walk beside her handsome groom

seeking blessings with humility and faith

crossing life’s threshold of marital bliss.

She hopes new desires as her feet follow

her partner on this path of exquisite

commitment. Today, she remembers

her grandfather she never saw and imagines him

walking the parkarma before those bullets

riddled him off. Pressing her feet firmly

on the shiny granite she imagines touching

his invisible footprint somewhere on this periphery.


Today slumberous history awakens and roars

as our multitude of feet tread gently while

teased by cool splashes on hot marble designs.

It becks and calls for a rejuvenation,

an affirmation. Washing away doubt,

with serene purity, our water-kissed feet

stride in steadfast faith. Despite those marks

of unforgotten intrusions, despite those testimonies

of trauma, we all bow down to the supreme love,

praying with humble hands -- in ardaas,

a petition with those nimble fingers

caressing silent reminiscences

and prayers for martyrs.

We ask for hope and strength,

for remembrance and resilience,

for commitments and promises

to memorialize that dark dawn which

hatched upon those pilgrims a crimson

cacophony of military bombardments

thirty years ago.



June 4, 2014




Conversation about this article

1: Sarbpreet Singh (Boston, Massachusetts, USA), June 04, 2014, 9:37 AM.

Parvinder ji: Very powerful and clearly heartfelt! GurFateh!

2: Inni Kaur (Fairfield, Connecticut, USA), June 04, 2014, 11:10 AM.

Ardaas: We ask for guidance. We ask for wisdom. We ask for Panthic unity.

3: Satinder Pal Singh (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada), June 04, 2014, 1:54 PM.

An amazing interweaving of varied emotions and experiences of Sikhs across different generations! I especially loved its last stanza full of remembrance, love, hope and seeking strength for future.

4: Kavita Singh (Belleville, Michigan, USA), June 09, 2014, 9:53 PM.

What a wonderful poem. Great depth and emotion. Absolutely amazing, Parvinder. Always look forward to your writings.

5: Jasvinder Kaur (Canton, Michigan, USA), June 10, 2014, 10:52 PM.

Salute to you. I'm speechless. Thanks, ji.

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Thirty Years Ago"

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