The Domain of Inbetween

It is the season
Of digging into the Earth
Sowing seeds, houses.
The seed that decides
Resides out of sight, below the Earth pondering-
What it is to bask
In the sun, to feel the breeze
The sky’s curvature
Exposed to all eyes,
The insider’s intense gaze
To be and not flinch.

No storm can uproot
Submerged formations of stone sprouting foundations.
Lightning cracks the sky
Foundation breaks surface
The plinth sets the stage
A site for healing
Rift between earth and sky
The stage is empty.

To descend with grace
Is the way of all raindrops
Till they fall on stage
Only to scatter-
What are explosions but flowers
Blossoming quickly
Will the floor recall
When dispossessed of its sky
How rains celebrate?

To ascend with grace
Is the way of all columns,
To build is to grow.
Defoliated trees
Memories of branches, leaves
Some beyond recall.
Who can tell how deep,
Columns plunge into the earth
To withstand the sky.
To be a column
Is to cultivate patience!
While staking shadows.

Beams are but columns
Dreaming branches, reaching out
To other branches.
When columns and beams
Dream together, leaving earth
Soaring as an arch-
To think is to fly
Transcending beams and columns
With stones and stillness.

Did you not wonder
With such flights into the sky
Would the stones return?

Stones in full flight freeze
Relish anti-gravity
Leaf and butterfly.
When stones taste the sky
They return home to earth
For a little while
Arches recall
Arrival and departure
In a single sweep
Tracing lips that frame
Mouth open in disbelief
At such momentum.

What can they enclose
When Walls proceed beyond plinth
To watch a tree grow.
Walls know how to wait;
Dwelling is a lingering
Waiting to return.
Trees know how to spread
Branches, branching into tongues
As so many leaves
Chanting earthian hymns
That ascend as sky descends
In consummation.

The bird that alights
Fans out its structural wings,
The feathers are still.
Like a self styled sky
Simulating horizons,
The roof reposes;
The house reconciles
Roots that clutch, wings that soar
Between earth and sky.

What is it to roof?
What can house that which houses,
That which embraces.
Resting on shadows
On wings of cantilevers
On a grounded pledge;
No gaze can trespass
Where earth and sky intersect
The roofs cutting edge;
The line of cease fire
Is the distant horizon
Where all roofs spring from.

Does the view not change
With the way arches perform
On that which is seen?
What does the arch frame-
The view within or without?
The shade or the sun?
Healing distances
Is the way of leaping stones,
Rainbows across time.
Will the dew linger
When the leaf begins to turn
And the sun returns?

To linger, to dwell
In the neighbourhood of death
Where all life takes place.
The snails epitaph
Is the form he leaves behind,
Shell is memory.
And then who can tell
Between the snail and the shell
Dweller and dwelling.
To be in that space
To be in the treasury
Of all that happened.

Sleepwalkers beware
Dwelling is all pervasive
Dweller all aware
Where to change levels
Is an act of commitment
Unleashing stairways
That defy railings.
House is never logical
Logic dwells in it.
Do not take chances
Where right angles fear to tread
Through squeezed doors and stairs.

All places take place
Or are places arrived at
When you least expect.
Angels do not dwell
-Where everything has its place
Where does the wind go?
And where do shadows?
All angles are full of them
Dreaming of nightfall.

Where do trees belong-
In blind darkness of deep soil?
With sun-blinded leaves?
Could the earth fortell,
Could the cast sky imagine
Where all paths converge
There the house presides!
The hill circumambulates,
Flowers spiral open
To a redefined sky that locates its bearings
Where the house resides.

Where does it begin?
When does it stop becoming?
Will it ever be?
The dream of the house
Is to entice the dreamer
To linger awhile
That which was within
Is no longer a secret
But an oasis.
To see is to touch
But to be touched is to see
For the very first time.

Glass cut and stacked in strata
Opaques to reveal
The yearning of all
That is invisible
To become visible.
What was transparent
Is as translucent as mist
That fills the valleys.
Ancient light filters
Into rooms behind glass veils
Moonlight on water.

House is the mirror
Full of everything it sees
The forest outside.
Inside the forest
You come upon a clearing
Courtyard among the trees.

Courtyard is silence.
To talk about the courtyard
Is to break the spell.

When the center recedes
Leaving its absence behind
With its own heartbeat
The house remains poised
In between two outsides
Where leaves hold their breath.
Some places become
Sites of possibilities
Where trees yearn to be.

Diagonal slashes
The rectangle into two
Triangles open.
The pathway turns to
Subterranian chambers
Underneath gardens.
Roots metamorphose
Into fertile grounds that sprout
Grass and domes of glass
Ringed with wine bottles
Intoxicated with light
Sunflowers celebrate.

Form follows fiction,
Stepping across the threshold
The sceptic believes
The visual logic
Of virtual reality
Is it as you see?
Where does the house dwell?
The domain of inbetween
Where we always are.

To blend with the earth
To stand out against the sky
To transcend seasons.
To be is to dwell
To preside and to reside

To speak of the house
Is to wipe the mouth with words
So that it may speak.

H Masud Taj

‘It took the architecture of Nari Gandhi to braid the three strands of architecture, poetry and calligraphy into “The Domain of Inbetween” and for that I remain thankful.’

And I remain thankful to you for these precious pearls of inspiring imagination!

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