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What beauty in a bulbul that does not sing?

What beauty in a star that does not twinkle?
what love in an anklet that does not tinkle?

What beauty in a bulbul that does not sing?
What beauty in a school-bell that does not ring?

How cute a buffalo not covered in mud?
What beauty in a louse that does not suck blood?

What fun politicians who do not gaffe?
What beauty in a snob who likes the riff-raff?

What beauty in an aunt who does not gossip?
What use a banana peel that does not trip?

What beauty in an itch that you cannot scratch?
What beauty in an account that does not match?

What beauty in a will that is not for me?
What beauty in a download that is not free?

What beauty in puris that drip not with oil?
What beauty in a python that does not coil?

What beauty in a witch who does not cackle?
What fun a footballer who does not tackle?

What beauty in a scorpion that does not sting?
What beauty in a gutter that does not stink?

What beauty in a fly that irritates not?
What beauty in you who appreciates not?


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Nellie, 1983

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To the piece of orange peel in my bag on the trip to Janjira,

You were the only one to stay by my side when all others Had left me to travel that final stretch homeward alone And while I had to throw you away after two days Because of the stench that made me put the bag in the wash And earn mother's censure onto which she piled older grievances You did help relive some happy memories of the sea breeze And the boatmen's chatter and the old bronze cannons’ roar And cope with those whose IQ is less than yours And taught me that I was mortal in that ride across the creek And that like you I too shall one day be stripped of my essence And confined to the dustbin of humanity I miss you, orange peel Published in Lakdi Ka Pul - II The Poetry Bridge 2017 — an international anthology by Twin City Poetry Club