Sunday 27 December 2009

Je vais tisser

un peu de ciel
un peu de tes larmes
un peu d'océan bleu
avec son sel aigre-doux
un peu d'eau claire
de fleuve descendant
d'une montagne haute

la chanson d'un oiseau
le sourire demi-édenté
d'un petit enfant
l'innocence vive dans
le cri joyeux d'un chiot
la paix d'une sieste
volée aux échéances

le babil d'un bébé
pas pollué
par des significations
le sifflement du vent
l'émergence d'espoir
d'une petite feuille verte
une pensée simple
des matins ensoleillés
et les silences oranges

et toi, et moi

avec ceux-là
je vais tisser
un rêve

Sunday morning

Sunday morning, on a walk with my dog.

Avoiding the middle-aged, fit and not-so-fit joggers
and the senior citizens stripping shrubs bare of flowers
are a murder of crows, pecking a dead pigeon apart.
One is trying to strip off the flesh from a wing
as others attack the meatier, juicier bits.
The joggers are careful to give them a wide berth,
while trying not to step on the discarded condom
lying alongside, for who wants seed stuck on the sole.

I cannot quite 'avert my gaze', for a horrified fascination
takes hold of me, watching the crows feast on a rare treat.
They are careful not to go near the condom too.
The gentle morning breeze, with the fragrance of fresh blossoms
and the songs of the magpie-robins and sparrows,
playing with the fallen, yellow autumnal leaves
and the soft, warming sunlight in the cold air:
do they add to or subtract from the ambience?

I don't know. Like the joggers,
I sidestep and walk on.

Friday 25 December 2009

Saturday Night

I could have spent my Saturday night drinking.
One large whiskey and soda and stop sharply at that.
And spend the rest of the time watching others
slowly degrade themselves into gibbering morons,
uttering invectives at all and sundry.
Descending into hell even as they hallucinated heaven.

Instead I spent it with some children, not quite bright,
but wise enough not to go searching for happiness.
With them I was positive in thought,
freed from the need to kvetch at the world,
or the schadenfreude of ratting on colleagues.
But I learnt to take the day as it came,
to filter out the loathing and retain the pats on the back,
to rejoice in joy, anyone's joy.

That night, I didn't discover what I could be.
I discovered what I should be.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Moods

What's a peacock without
its colours, what's a poet
without his moods?

Love poems

Why do writers of
great love poems tend not to
get married themselves?

Comfort

Give no comfort to
poets, they will sleep. Poems
are born out of pain.

چین / चैन

चैन से तो नीन्द
आती है, शायरों को कभी
तुम चैन मत देना

چین سے تہ نیند
آتی ہے ، شاعروں کو کبھی
تم چین مت دینا

Dance

With a little dance
a fly conveys what we need
epic poems for.

نقاب / नक़ाब

کچھ نقاب ایسے ہوتے ہےں
جنکے اہوڈھنے پر
کئ اور نقاب اتر آتے ہےں

कुछ नक़ाब ऐसे होते हैं
जिनके ओढ़ने पर
कई और नक़ाब उतर आते हैं

Thursday 10 December 2009

History

History is always a tragedy.

But the bodies on the road,
overrun by maggots,
the tyres burning away hope,
the women screaming,
begging, pleading
not to be raped -
are as real as they were
the first time.

The second time,
we just learn to close our eyes.

Saturday 5 December 2009

School Friends

The good thing about school friends is that
you can always make fun of them,
even if you last met thirty years ago.

They may be have got a Padma Vibhushan
for distinguished service in medicine,
with FRCS, FACS after their name,
but to you they are still Snotnose,
Kombda, Gotya and Monkeybrain.

You never forget their birthdays
and their children's names
though you forget your wife's
or your own children's.

You may not attend your cousin's wedding,
but something will make you travel
halfway around the planet,
to attend that of your school friend.

At school reunions you instinctively
head for the same spot in the
school canteen, crack the same jokes,
though the others stare at you.

They'll send you the same cliched
birthday cards (rarely gifts)
but you'll treasure them above all else.

And when you have been forgotten
by your colleagues after retirement,
and your children after they move out,
it is your school friends who will come
to be your pall-bearers.

My weed garden

Mother gave me a patch of garden.

I ploughed it with a trowel
and seeded it with
dahlias,
geraniums,
marigolds,
and chrysanthemums.

I watered it everyday
and watched with delight
as they began to sprout.

Then one day I saw a new plant,
with tiny bright green leaves.
Mother didn't know what it was.
Se called it a weed.
She told me to remove it.
I didn't. I thought it was pretty.

Prettier still, when it had
tiny, yellow flowers.
And then there were other plants -
short ones,
tall ones,
prickly ones,
with white,
yellow,
even red flowers.
One flower had petals
that were violet outside
and yellow inside.
Mother called them all weeds.

The geraniums
and dahlias
and chrysanthemums
didn't seem to grow well.
They were short
and had small flowers,
not like mother's patch
which had big, pretty ones.
Mother said it was because
I had let weeds grow.

But I had lots of little
flowers - like little me.
Mother said I had grown
a weed garden.
So she took it away.

But it was a nice garden
while it lasted.

Friday 4 December 2009

Nature

When nature thinks up
mindless destruction she creates
ten year old boys.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

A dog's tail

The default state
of a dog's tail is up.
It takes a lifetime -
of stones by cute boys,
beatings by smart trainers
and
neglect by loving masters -
for it to go down.

Names

However fancy
one's pen name, when put in print
one prefers one's own.

Goat

When you are the goat,
no amount of reason can
save you from the pot.

Nigger

When you're the nigger,
no amount of reason can
save you from the noose.

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