I come at last to a wanderer's grave,
My sexton is the vulture's jaw;
He'll bury me by the wanderer's law
In open field or cloistered cave.
The buzzing flies will make up my shroud,
As the wind howls my death lament.
While I convulse through my last torment,
They chant my rites clear and loud.
The vagrant at last shall come to stay,
In the maggot's fattening zest.
May I think I've found eternal rest
As my tissues ferment away?
But for peace I shall pray in vain,
For my bones roll on upon the plain.
(Published in GloMag, December 2015 p72)
Rohini, Paresh and yours truly are happy to announce the release of the second volume of our journal of flash fiction, poetry and haibun, Narrow Road. Featuring authors from the Philippines, India, Denmark, UK, Canada and the USA, this was our first issue with open submissions. You can read the journal here:https://issuu.com/narrowroad.mag/docs/narrow_road_vol_2_august_2017
But let my wife not be widowed,
Nor my children orphaned.
Nor let my mother and father
Spend life’s last lap looking
At the photograph of me
Saluting at my passing out parade
Trying desperately to stifle a tear.
War, however, is necessary.
But my career is also necessary.
That US visa, that VP designation
And that Thailand…
Well, whatever happens in Thailand.
And that 5-crore sea facing flat.
It’s necessary, war is necessary.
I am aware that the men in uniform
Fighting the blizzards of Siachen
Or sudden fire on the Line of Control
Or fearlessly facing militants
Martyr themselves for the Nation,
But I fulfill my responsibilities too
And have never failed to offer Koti koti shraddhanjali
On Facebook and Twitter.
War, however, is necessary.
But it is not in my fate that I,
Clutching a mug of cold tea at 3 AM,
Fight a jihad against sleep; nor,
Wearing body armour (If I get any)
Depart for a crusade against
The searing heat of the desert.
And I must forget altogether, …
Pets are prone to it. As are grandchildren.
And the little birdies and kittens
You bring in from the cold.
All you can do is rage - in impotent disbelief,
And sorrow, and anger, and desire, and hope,
And go through what they call the four
Stages of grief, but what man was so heartless
To coolly count while a woman smashed
Her bangles on her wrists, fresh-widowed?
But it’s a tendency we cannot avoid,
And while we may clamour, in foolish lust
For the hanging or shooting or electrocution
Of someone we have been taught to fear;
Our own papa or hubby or Sox or Puppy
We were never taught. Oh yes, there it is
In the Vedas and Quran and the Confucian texts
And maybe we could use it for our own time,
But for papa or hubby or Sox or Puppy
We never could learn, never could be taught.
All you get is vague notions that are inadequate,
So inadequate, to fill that rising emptiness
Called life hereafter. And yet we fill it and
‘move on’ till someone else expresses, unwantedly,
This strange tendency i…