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Ikebana of the Blind

Srinjay Charkravati

He picks up vowels and consonants,
shape and form as the subject
of his fingers: dextrous

and facile, exploring
the impossible fragrances
of jasmine or lily.

He starts with the white nouns,
the basic folds in his alphabet;
then come the verbs
rustling in blue pleats,
and the adjectives forming
themselves into pink creases.

Working with his second
sight of crisp movements,
the grammar of touch and feel
harmonises textures into rhythm
with his colour schemes of thoughts,
perfumed with imagination's pollen.

Stretching a point too far
on a flat sheet, he crinkles
compound curves out of its locus;

spiral gerundives of yellow,
vertexes twisted gently
into cutting edges, visualised
in the blackness of permanent night
into cascades of flowers: buds and blooms
of rose, lotus, gladiolus.

In his hands blossom the ritual
petals of inflexions and hyperboles:
curving branches, scattered leaves,
patterning an illusion of foliage.

Wildflowers, captured manifold
in squeeze and press, squash and push -
Saburo Kase's nostrils
still tingle with the blossoms

he had smelled as a child
on the mountains near his home,
when vision was not yet lost.

Now it is the origami's paper magic
that parses down his constructions,
that eternises them into immortelles
in his fingers' vernacular.

Living in the moment, still
centre of the now, an old man
always in the dark,
but never without light;
his hands always redolent
            of beauty.

(Sburo Kase (b.1926): one of the world's greatest origami artists.)


Srinjay Chakravarti