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Tin Sheets

They've put tin sheets around my house.

That house in the middle of the city,
built so very long ago by grandpa,
when I was not even born,
shall they break it down?

The grills on the window,
with the big sill on which I sat,
watching suburban trains go past;
and that window that never opened,
will they break them now?

That attic in which I could play,
and not be found for hours;
and all the sundry stuff in it
Among which I was general, king or slave
In a perfect fancy world,
will they break them now?

The kitchen platform with the burners,
one for sacred, god-offered meals,
the other for cooking abhishtam things,
when grandmother was not around;
and the shelves with old wooden doors
groaning with sterling heirlooms,
will they break them now?

The tall wardrobe in the room
on which my cousin kept things
which I should not read;
or the iron cot in the corner
that creaked under grandpa's weight;
or that ancient blotted mirror,
will they break them now?

That ancient wooden staircase,
that spiralled to the terrace,
where grandmother's savouries
dried in the sun every summer
to be be put in tins and stored;
and that roof-top water-tank
in which cricket sixers landed,
will they break them now?

They've put tin sheets around my house.

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