The Silence of Starry Regions (for SatiBai Akka)
by Oopali Operajita (’71)

The Silence of Starry Regions
(for SatiBai Akka)

The valley is your space
In which you stand, peerless.

I was six when I got off the bus
And asked where Rishi Valley’s
Fabled hills were.
I saw you then, silhouetted,
Against the quiet indigo
Of a January night.

Next morning I saw Cave Rock,
Settled into Blue House
And into grade three.
Across the courtyard from us
Were you, and your Red House,
Both impeccable.

From that day on
My life was forever tinged
With the cerulean
Of Rishi Valley’s skies
And the salmon, rust and crimson hues
Of the sun sinking, at Astachal.

There was a sonata of stars
On that first night I spent
In Rishi Valley: stars without end.
Where you stood
There now is a lucid silence:
The silence of starry regions.

There is a space, almost sacred
Which the valley carves into you.
You carry its jasmine within you --
Its fragrance unsullied --
Wherever you are on this earth
In that space you dwell, SatiBai Akka.

I cannot think of a time
When you haven’t been a part
Of my consciousness:
Now, I cannot think of a time
When you will not be.

The more invisible you are
The more certain you have been around
And the more obvious you’re everywhere.*

(* These last three lines are adapted from Joseph Brodsky’s “Roman Elegies”)