Tested Pearls

They were not born in a shell ‘

Water did not caress them to grow

Just the memory  of chastity in a drop

Translated mechanically by human hands

Mother of pearl would not adopt

Wet moon did not kiss the natural elements

With concentration

They did not go through public holy fires

Earth did not break up to hold their suspected

Innocence in her cleavage

Their sheen was a pretense

It could not weather the testing years

They could not balance the dreams

Pushing them to be heavily lower…

They were returned

Considered cheap …

Like the plucked fragrant

Unchaste basil leaves

Out of holy waters……..

Notes: Cultured pearls were first made in China in the 12th century BC by placing a bead in the mantle of an oyster baby mollusk aged 3 or 4 years then nacre is laid by the oyster for 3 years. The only difference is that the mother of pearl is secreted by artificial stimulation and laid in parallel layers and not concentric rings….Tested pearls usually carry less market value.

Basil or tulsi in Hinduism is a chaste wife who is cheated by the God Vishnu . Hence loses her chastity to him since he assumes the avtar of her husband. To atone his sin , Vishnu declares Tulsi to be his dearest flower though she is merely a leaf ….

Both these notes explain the imagery used in this poem that is highly culture specific.



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