To love!?

Pristine white marble
sculpted immaculately
one of the wonders of the world
symbol of eternal love
…or is it?

What if
it was not love but guilt
that drove the emperor to proclaim
his consort was the best
and create a tomb so grand
as penance and
not out of adoration!

What conspiracies and collusions
marked those halcyon days
was there jealousy or deviousness
do these sun dappled arches hold some secrets?

As he lay in the fort
watching his labour of love
did these walls record his regret
were his lovelorn sighs heard by the steps
what went through his mind
in the cloistered solitude,
while plotting and planning went behind his back!

The young third wife bore
fourteen children in twenty years
was there a design behind it!
did her beauty and cleverness
lead to jealousy and scheming
coming in the way of her longevity!

Now they lie cold side by side
under the cold marble
the palace intrigues
and machinations
lie quietly buried too.

All that the world can see
is a monument of love
as lovers visit and sigh at the beauty
on full moon lights
holding hands and pledging lifelong fealty;
is it to love or to the idea of love!

Written for dVerse and Sadje. Today’s host, Merril says: You may write about any objectโ€”a family heirloom, a museum piece, a monument, or a palace. The choice is yours, but there must be some link to history and the past. (Or to current controversies over some artifacts held in museums.)There is no length or style requirement.


97 thoughts on “To love!?

  1. What a poignant question you end with, and we can’t help but think of the palace intrigues that went on, as they do now! Provocative, Punam, and lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. oh nobody could taint true love, nobody has that power … wrong choice of words … you’ve tainted the ‘romance’ the guides tout about the reason behind the structure! I had no idea …

        Liked by 1 person

  2. is it to love or to the idea of love! – this is a very important question you bring, very much relevant and required in today’s world I think. Love is as much a mystery in its true form between 2 people, as many definitions and expressions it has been given. I love your poem so beautifully written and investigating our history behind this monument to love.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful–in ideas and flow of the lines, and your closing question is wonderful.
    I wondered the same thing about his motivation, but I love how you work in palace intrigue, too.
    Also–what about all the workers who toiled creating this?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah love – one of the most bastardized words of the century – nay, in eternity!

    Romantic writers, Bollywood and Hollywood writers and directors, parents and elders, and almost every person has contributed to it.
    I wonder if there is anyone who has not thought about the meaning of love!

    And here I am adding to that chaos by saying that the typical understood meaning of love is a twisted one! (LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think your take on this is a delight! I’m sure that being a favorite came with plenty of detractors and possibly a shortened life… who knows what machinations went on in palaces? Even in modern times there is intrigue in government and monarchies. This poem sparks my imagination!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a marvelous poem Punam. History lesson in a beautiful poem. I do agree with you that this was probably guilt and not love that made this Taj Mahal. Thanks for joining in my friend

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Masterpiece! Simply fantastic, how you explore the dark stories behind the symbol of love. A million stories there could have been! A lot of buried secrets and mysteries.

    And you killed two birds with one stone yet again. Very very cleverly penned. GORGEOUS lines! I have no words to express my genuine admiration of this piece. Hats off ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, Sahana. Every story has the other side too! And the history we are taught is very linear, hardly touching on complexities.
      Thanks so much, dear. Genuinely appreciate your words. โค๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you are right to ask that question, Punam! If building the Taj Mahal seems hard, we should imagine also the labour of bringing 14 children into the world, and all of the unspoken sacrifice โค๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a delightful poem. I remember my first sight of the Taj Mahal, framed in the arched gateway. It took my breath away. And I remember stroking the marble and imagining what lied within. Thank you for taking me back.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so majestic and beautiful Punam. I always questioned the history behind Taj Mahal too. Fourteen children in 20 years is no less than a torture. It’s true, we never really know what goes on behind. Loved the poem๐Ÿค—

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The conspiratorial mind resided then and now. I would say the angle you gave to this iconic tomb has a lot of secrets. Your perspective here can be true. Also the mention of the third wife giving birth to 14 children in 20 years. Is it humane?
    Love your poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I too thought of that great monument. There will be much we will never know.
    I think, for myself I would rather have a tree planted than cold stone bricks to house old bones.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I sometimes use a small piece of my willow tree to help foster rooting of plant cuttings… I now have two larger (baby willows about three feet tall – one is spoken for) and one that is about 3 inches tall!. My old gal may have to eventually be replaced. So I’ll keep one of the 3 footers… but I couldn’t bear to toss the ‘baby’… I hope I can find it a home too.

        Liked by 1 person

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