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Showing posts from July, 2006

Last Tree Standing

It was the last tree standingOn the prairie’s boundless groundHarassed by the winds and rain alikeIt stood alone, calm, strongGently holding on to its last leaves.“More wood, more fire,More orgies!My power shall not standDiminished in any way.The jewels in my crown,Those trophies of battle,That glory of beingThe Master of his men.The vile slavery of my serfs— shall I let go of it?More orgies, more food,More laurels to my power!“Shall a mere tree come in my way?What shall I make my men do?Eat roots when they can have pheasant stew?That last tree shall give me wood,And they – those serving men –They shall chop it, and burn it.The cooking-men will stir the pots;The hunting-men shall find for me -Pheasants, and deer and turtles;The growing men shall bring meWheat, and rice and cotton;The weaver-men, and the barber-menAnd the potter-men and other men,They shall all ply their trades.“And I:I keep the peace among them,I throw them my table-scraps,And they shall be fedAnd be happy.They shall …

To My Nephew Newborn

Ah! Little fellow,
Welcome to the arms,
Of a proud uncle.

Welcome into this world of ours.
We have many things for you.
You shall have them
As a young man.


And roses.

Tell me, nephew,
(Though I know you cannot tell)
What will the world be like,
In your time?

Will there still be roses,
And the time and tenderness,
To give them to pretty girls?

Will the child's laugh,
The sparrow's twitter
And the sunrise on the sea
Still be beautiful?

Will all men,
Who the wise say
Are born equal,
Will they die equal
And happy?

Or would steel
Still shed blood?

Will the madness that has been
The fate of all mankind,
The plunder and plague,
Still abound?

I hope there will be roses,
And the beauty of love
Still prevail in the end.

Nephew (how you sleep!)
Someday you will be
The father, and I the son
And you will lead me by
The hands that hold you now,
Into a future unseen.

A Monsoon Sonnet

Hurrah! The rains are here!
The dream that every tree has seen
To dress in everlasting green;
The hope of every sown seed,
Of every herb and grass and weed,
Of parched street and thirsting town,
Of starving ryot and taxing crown:
Is sated now, there is no fear.

The drops of life fall sweet and clear!
His time has come, he's waited long:
The frog croaks forth his eager song!
With joy does every little child,
Frolic in mud, get wet, run wild!
Hurrah! The rains are here!

The Courtship of a Fly

some point in their love-lives. Now those beautiful studies in miniature called Drosophila melanogaster, who provide me my daily bread, have no less an elaborate ritual of courtship, as they sing and dance and weather down their beloveds to consent to a union of hearts. Presenting the Fly Shakespeare:-

Male:- Shall I compare thee to a summer’s eve?
Thy brilliance is like a sun upon the firmament,
And thy portment most tubby!

Female: Hie! Thou yellow-bodied knave,
Get thee away from me.

Male:- Dismiss not my entreaties, bonnie lass,
Thine wings most curled, and most brilliant
Balanced are they in their beauty!

Female:- Look upon thyself, thou love-lorn fool!
Look upon the hazard tufts,
That peasantly stubble
That thou claimest to pass for bristles,
Ha! Wooest thou me with such gain?
And consider mine:
What perfect form, slender curved,
And tipt with gold!

Male:- Am I so blemish’d,
That my worth to thee is unkempt?
Gaze into my eyes, fair maiden,
Two whiten hemispheres
Pure in their love for thee!

Female:- …

The Message

The message is supreme;
Born in the heart,
and lilting itself
from tongue to tongue,
throwing its scent
over wind and wave;
travelling on dots
or fingers
when blindness
or silence bar its way.

It hews itself into stone
or burns itself onto magnetic discs;
it is the message that lives
and I exist
solely to pass it on.

Fashion Street

9:00 AM. Mumbai. Fashion Street.
Officially Mahatma Gandhi Road.
Curious juxtaposition of names.

Empty hawker stalls.
Unloaded hangers.
Stark bamboo poles.

Fading echoes of bargains.
Echoes of a thriving economy.
Echoes of a police van.
Echoes of a city alive.

Echoes of a man of his people.
Echoes of his people.
Curious juxtaposition of names? (Originally written as a flash essay on Saturday, September 03, 2005. I wonder whether transformation as blank verse would work.)

A Monsoon Idyll

The nectar-laden clouds;
The earthen smell
of newborn life
the sea-spray upon my face,
the green cloak that the trees
have covered themselves in
and the steadily pouring rain
that feeds, nurtures, enlivens:
they weave beauty into breath,
The joy of being,
The enchanted thrill
And the bliss of minglement
into the bounty of the earth!