There was a Princess Long Ago: A Poem by Neeti Parti

An artist’s dream!
Alabaster skin, cheeks touched by fresh rose
Eyes glowing, ensconced in curling lashes, tresses gold like the morning rays

Arrogant and proud, caught the ire of an old witch
Cursed her and took away her looks till a selfless service to her people she would furnish

Withered and charmless, unable to look at her reflection
Discovered talent in her voice, sang to drown her shame
Mastered the Ragas of Indian Classical and sang with inflection

Sweet were the songs she would sing, the breeze would be her accompaniment
Swans in water would swim to her side as she sang ‘Raag Basant Bahaar’
Flowers would bloom, the cuckoo would join in from near and afar

Tragedy struck her kingdom, rainless went the year
Cries of hunger and pain filled the air, she could bear to hear no more

Burst she passionately into ‘Raag Malhar’, invoking the God of clouds and rain
Sang in continuity without food or water
Moved by her penance, the sky relented shedding a lifegiving shower

Fainted the princess from effort and exhaustion
Awoke to grateful citizens gazing with gratitude, she ran to hide her ugliness

Caught her reflection in a mirror-like puddle
Looked back at her, her glorious image
Once again, an artist’s dream!