A year ago when I was dead,
I walked alone the lonely road;
Thinking of nothing, I moved towards
The icy chill of my hellish abode.
The day was dark but nothing much,
The weather was stormy, but maybe not,
Perhaps inclement, but bothered I wasn’t,
Feelings inside me had gone on to rot.
The human I was, was no longer I
Someone else had taken my place;
A morbid corpse, the undertaker’s wage,
A man in the mask I called my face.
They circled above me, away from my reach,
A dole of some white doves flying high;
They each had an albatross’ wing,
And they each had a bald eagle’s eye.
Turning from light to shadow to light
They went about their merry play.
And night and day came to a still
And night began to merge with day.
One was called peace, it had an air,
And spread about its radiant glow
It filled me with peace and its merry light
My heart began to lose its woe.
Another was faith, with mighty wings.
It carried on itself the weight of the world.
And kept it alive when times turned dark;
Deep in its eyes an ocean lay curled.
One more was hope, the last resort
Of dejected women and men
It made them see light at the end of the tunnel
And filled them with life again and again.
Then there was freedom, the everlasting dream,
Of everyone brought forth on the earth.
A desire to break the golden shackles
And fly away to the sky of their birth.
Perhaps there was love too, smiling away
As it looked down upon me, a wretched soul,
In its eyes were pity; its wings had a healing
My hollowness it changed to whole.
I was alone with no place to go
I felt alive and exceedingly so,
The sun and the moon both burned along
The twinkle inside me began to grow.
The conference of birds had made me a human
It gave a new life to the child of me
Perhaps again, in a life afresh,
A bird like them I too will be.
And fly to new shores along with them
To give a new life to some shipwrecked brother
Fill him with peace, faith, hope and freedom,
And then with love, fly to another.
Till then, depart, O Conference of Birds,
You shall live on always in me,
Painted somewhere upon my heart,
A child, a man; alive and free.
Tauseef is a member of LSD. He wrote this poem for a competition at IIM Ahmedabad. The title and theme are taken from a popular Sufi book, Manatiq at Tair (The Conference of Birds) by Farid al Din Attar. It was previously published here.