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Showing posts from February, 2010

To Whom It May Concern

Don't ask me how I am doing.

Do you really want to know
how I'm coping with my hernia,
asthma, astigmatism and piles?

Do you really want to know
how I cope everyday - everyday -
with a genetically constipated boss
and colleagues as warm as snakes?

Do you really want to know
how I deal with daily disappointments
of failure, that I'm just another
stattisitc, an also-ran, not done
in life as well as you?

Do you really want to know
how I fret and fume watching
politicians, businessmen, athletes,
work up sleaze and scandal to
fill screen after television screen,
while I wallow in obscurity?

Do you really want to know?

How To Sharpen A Machete

Never let bloodstains dry on the blade; they
dull its keenness, you cannot cut smoothly
and will need four or five clumsy strokes. Wrap
sandpaper around the handle, so that
sweat doesn't loosen grip, else hacking off
limbs becomes tiresome. Rub grit on the
blade, sand with vigour - first with coarse, then fine
paper - till the surface is evened. Make
sure every inch from tip to hilt has sparked
on the whetting-wheel. It should cut away
arms in clean, efficient strokes. Rub down the
edge with hemp and linen, till it neatly
severs the spine in one graceful swing. Then
rub down hard, first with a cotton rag, then
silk, Rub keen till it rends the soft skin of
the abdomen elegantly. Rub last
with satin and dacca muslin. Then you
will have an edge so sharp, you can gouge out
eyes with the most delicate of movements.
That is how you sharpen a machete.

A kite broken

A kite broken from its string,
I rise, I fall, I swirl, I sail,
Over land, over water, over homes;
Plaything of the winds I be -
I go where the current bids me...

Till at last trapped in a tree,
I flutter pinned to a twig;
I can hear the breeze whistle
As it rushes through my tatters,
And that gentle, creaking sound
As the rends expand...

And then some boys discover me,
take me down, mend me, string me,
But dreams taped together fly no more...

Can I protest aloud
If they choose to string a newer kite?

The Wanderer

They ask me at the city gates
Who I am -

May I say I am a flower fallen,
Withering in the dust,
Longing for the bough I was born on;

May I say I am a kite broken,
Plaything of the winds,
Longing for the string that held me;

May I say I am a son exiled,
To wander from shore to shore,
Longing for the soil that made me;

But the bough bears new blooms,
The string flies new kites,
My motherland has new sons;

All we can do is wander, drift, meander;

Can you, O city guards,
Give us a home to die in?

But all they can give us is a rubbish bin's
damp, smouldering fire. Thus must we -
The flower, the kite and I perish.

All they agree to do
Is scatter our ashes in the wind,
And in its ceaseless motion,
We find our graves.

Remembering birthdays

Don't ask me to remember birthdays.
Or your name. That's hard. But.
I'll remember your face forever.
If I've lent you anything, that too.
The good and bad moments we've had,
(I'll be discreet about the bad ones).
Any favours you've done for me,
And need repaying, those certainly.
Much of what (and whom)
You like and dislike,
Even things you're allergic to.
Just don't ask me to remember birthdays.

Le soleil

Es tu comme le soleil
Chassant le jour-
Espérant pendant l’aube,
Brillant pendant la matineé,
Brûlant pendant l’après-midi,
Pâlissant pendant la soireé
Et perdu dans les ténèbres?

Nellie, 1983

Very often the sun rises
in warm, golden rays
on opening buds,
birdsong and dewdrops,
and the stench of stale death.

Very often the sun rises
Upon mutilated men -
blood drying over their eyes
and gore-caked machetes
rusting in their abdomens.

Very often the sun rises
over hyaenas fretting
over the carrion going waste -
they can eat no more,
nor can the vultures.

Very often the sun rises
on a day already defeated
- shrieking, screeching, screaming,
demanding that it go back
for there was peace in the night.

भक्त ने समझा, भक्त ने माना

भक्त एक था नारायण का, नारायण का, नारायण का
परम भक्त था नारायण का, बचपन में था, यौवन में था
सुबह शाम पूजा करता था, घी और गुड़ के भोग चढ़ाता
जय हरि की, जय नारायण, जय हरि की, जय नारायण

एक दिन एक चूहा आया, घी चट गया, गुड़ चट गया
श्री नारायण देखते रह गए, देखते रह गए, देखते रह गए
हरी से बढ़कर चूहा होगा, भक्त ने समझा, भक्त ने माना
जय चूहे की, चूहे की जय, जय चूहे की, चूहे की जय

अब चूहे को भोग चढ़ाता, घी चढ़ाता, गुड़ चढ़ाता
लेकिन एक दिन बिल्ली आयी, डरकर चूहा बिल में भागा
चूहे से बढ़कर बिल्ली होगी, भक्त ने समझा, भक्त ने माना
जय बिल्ली की, बिल्ली की जय, जय बिल्ली की, बिल्ली की जय

अब बिल्ली को दूध पिलाता, बिल्ली बिल्ली जपता रहता
एक दिन जब एक कुत्ता भौंका, दूध गिराकर बिल्ली भागी
बिल्ली से बढ़कर कुत्ता होगा, भक्त ने समझा, भक्त ने माना
जय कुत्ते की, कुत्ते की जय, जय कुत्ते की, कुत्ते की जय

अब कुत्ते को अन्न चढ़ाता, उसकी पूजा वन्दना करता
पर पत्नीजी ने डन्डा लेकर, उस कुत्ते को मार भगाया
कुत्ते से बढ़कर पत्नी होगी, भक्त ने समझा, भक्त ने माना
जय पत्नी की, पत्नी की जय, जय पत्नी की, पत्नी की जय

अब पत्नी की आरती करता…