The Conflagratory Palingenesis: A Lament for the Phoenix of the Shillong Bar Association

It’s 10:50 pm of 24.02.2024
That’s before the mid-night,
Waking from slumber
to a ringing din,
Phones blaring out
in cacophonous cries,
Summoning me forth
into the night.
Rushing out
I saw a fiery light,  
As flames engulfed
the historic hall -
Timbers crackling
as documents charred inside.

The hungry flames
consumed all they spied
Within those aged walls
built long ago.  
Priceless words
turned swiftly into ashes -
Speeches penned
by visionary minds,
Contracts securing futures,
fates and ties,
as the fire spread wide.   

Through smoky air
the sirens loudly cried,
Fire engines racing
to join the fight  
Against destruction's
evergreedy maw.  
Brave firefighters
tackling swelling tides  
Of ravenous flames
and billowing smoke.
Desperate to save
what clues they could find   

Within the ruins,
clues to help divine
What precious pieces
might yet survive  
And somehow be salvaged
from the blaze
Still greedily
fed on ancient beams
And century-old
carved ancestral frames
Once witness
to this city's changing times.

By midnight's hour
the battle reached its peak,
Exhausted firefighters
still hard at work  
Dousing every lingering
spark they meet  
In charred and sodden piles
of black debris -  
Twisted pipes,
cracked bricks
and steaming pools  
Marking the fire's hungry,
destructive streak.  

Ashes float
upon the gentle breeze
As stunned officials
stand and silently grieved
Surveying the damage
with appalled eyes-  
So much history now destroyed,
Of relics that had weathered
all fates and stings
Before this tragedy
broke faith with time.

The hungry flames,
they spared naught in their feast-  
Not desk
nor room
nor ancestral art-
Rending augmented souls
now bereft  
Of physical anchors
housing their best-  
Those words
and works
which had defined
their hearts,  
Preserved their knowledge,
proclaimed their beliefs.  

Yet as I watch the smoke
begin to thin,
See firefighters' weary,
saddened faces,
Knowing what healing
now must herein begin-  
I cling fast
to one last hope
that still shines-
We yet retain
within our living minds  
All they have taught
and we still have to give.  

The fire has ravaged
but not erased
All the ideals their work
once ensconced-
Though blackened walls
may certainly distress,
What truly matters
dwells in living hearts-   
Kindle spirits
can recreate the rest  
And build that hall up
finessed than before!

Rising from the ashes,
we shall soar-  
Strong souls
endure what trials
may assail,
Gathering strength
through crisis and pain.  
Banded together
no foe can prevail-   
by bonds the years
only forge tighter,
We shall overcome
and thrive once more!  

So let us now
the future's course restore-
Honoring burned words
with new works made greater,
Remembering what overnight
was lost yet saving
What truly made that old building
so hallowed ,
so revered -
Not brick and beam
but community matters.  

From disaster's grip
now slowly wrestling free,
Healing hands
shall mend all wounds in time.
Standing on smouldering
ruins we still see  
In mind's eye
that rising edifice so grand-
Hall of justice ,
truth's staunch advocate sublime,  
Shall be summoned back
more glorious than before!

So let dirges soft
as smoke now fade,
Requiem's soulful notes
no more sound doleful-
Instead let progress
and promise serenade  
This emptied place,
clearing way for rebirth bolder!
From night's dark throat
hope's rays now cascade-   
The past is gone
but the future stands before!

 The poem is  part of a full version found in the book “Homo Sapiens” Part Part I - XXIX, written by Mawphniang Napoleon. This book is part of the popular “Homo Sapiens” book series, which can be purchased online at various online bookstores, such as Amazon. The book is available for purchase for those who are interested in reading the complete version of the poem. Remember to get all the books from the “Homo Sapiens” series, as well as other books by the same author.   
So, don’t hesitate and get a copy today from one of the many online bookstores.   -

Khublei Shihajar Nguh,  -
(Dhanewad  )-
(Thank you )

About this poem

This poem above is a lyrical elegy to the devastating fire that engulfed the historic Shillong Bar Association building one fateful midnight. Weaving together vivid imagery, ingenious metaphors and dexterous alliteration, the poet crystallizes the tragedy of irreplaceable loss while simultaneously gesturing towards hope and renewal. The twisting, turning verses emulate the whipping flames as they greedily consume the venerable hall, cruelly devouring timber, artifact and archive alike in a relentless conflagration. Yet like the mythical phoenix rising renewed from ashes, the poet spies resilience in the firefighters' valiant efforts and faith in the community's resolve to come together to rebuild and restore. While devoid of overt religiosity, glimmers of secular transcendence suffuse the poet's sublime verses, suggesting art, culture and shared purpose as the true vessels of immortality. 

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Submitted by Mawphniang.Napoleon on February 24, 2024

Modified by Mawphniang.Napoleon on February 24, 2024

4:21 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme xabcdexadaxxfg Hgixjkxlmefg xgfaexmxhnxo xxkxpxqxxhrx bsmtfxxqxxxqs uxvxwexexxqx Hxxxxyxmzjxo1 wx ncqkfcxxx2 lxx pxtxi3 m1 xzx4 k4 yv5 x2 b5 xxbx4 x4 jbaffxxxm xqxxfqxxrxx4 x6 xx3 6 xbu6 x4 bx fax
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 4,231
Words 861
Stanzas 15
Stanza Lengths 14, 12, 12, 12, 13, 12, 15, 13, 12, 14, 11, 12, 12, 2, 3

Mawphniang Napoleon

Mawphniang is a person who is always striving to live life to the fullest. He is someone who is always open to new ideas and ways of living and is unafraid to take risks in order to explore the unknown. He is passionate about life and is always looking for ways to make use of his time and energy. He has an inquisitive nature, and is always looking for answers to life's mysteries and questions. Though Mawphniang does not pretend to have all the answers, he is determined to taste life and live a simple life, without overcomplicating things. He's a person who appreciates the small moments and cherishes the little things in life. He enjoys spending time in nature, exploring the world, and connecting with people. He is a person who is always up for a new adventure and never stops learning. He is on a daily journey of self-discovery, trying to make sense of the world and his place in it. more…

All Mawphniang Napoleon poems | Mawphniang Napoleon Books

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