They Are Playing Cricket

at Oval Maidan

in the hot afternoon sun on Saturday

the boys are shouting and cheering

the thwack of bats on green tennis balls

groups of people in their track-suits

run along the periphery

from the taxi I’m travelling in

I look up at the graceful Art Deco buildings

standing in the shade

Palm Court Ivorine Belvedere Court

later returning by the same route at night

tired and perspiring

streetlights join my ride

quiet cars at traffic signals…

and at the Stadium Restaurant

where I have my dinner

I can’t help thinking again

this is the same city the same Bombay

where so many bombs have gone off.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

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And Again Those Dogs Were There

golden and black

how they lay in the sun

so happy and loving

so high up in the hills

turmeric Seema gave Omana

and served us tea

and Shailendra and Claus and I and Ludger

were there too

we went on two bikes

it was so beautiful the landscape

the hills the trees

I thought we knew each other for ever

I thought the day was our best friend

opening its heart to us

and towards the end

we went up the tough rocky road

Seema showed me all the water tanks

big round ones with green nets on them

the solar heaters

I had to figure all this out myself

she said

and Shailendra later laughed like he liked life

in the evening we spotted the moon from Claus Garden

it was the full moon

it was Claus who saw it first

it was shining extraordinarily

bright silver through the branches

of the trees

a perfect brilliant circle

this will be my home

I had long decided

this place is my mother

it has taken me to its breast

and fed me its milk

Dominic Dominic

she says

stay with me

I will nuture you

and you will live.

The Purple Cape

of a comic book character

broke free from

the minds of the children

playing in the verandah.

In the wind

it floated through the dark passageway

of bathrooms bursting with stars

into the mango tree nearby.

There it remained stuck in the branches

mistaken for a bedcover

which I always cover myself with

before going to sleep.

Looking out at the sky today

from my window

it’s beautiful bright blue

everything seems perfect.

Part of the terrace

of the building across mine

is a child’s painting

from a sketch-book.

Two white pipes

rise beautifully quiet.

A crow flies next to it.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

In Kumily

the bird

sings so sweetly

and the trees

are so beautiful

they make you feel

like mist

you are that calm

imagine reader

I vomited three times yesterday

the long winding road

so cleverly

brought my life

the horror

blood to my eyes

I did not know all this

I just went with the flow

I suffered

I sweated

I nearly cried

with the pain

in my heart

then there was complete darkness

I was lost to myself

I was just pitch black nothingness

a colour even I could not fully understand

it was like that my dear

and now there are more birds whistling

and singing

and the trees and the sky are their home

sweet home

and Claus told me he went mad about the generator next door

it was too noisy

he had complained many times

some days ago I saw my flesh was strange to me

in the city

as though I was now something else

I felt I had lost my princely garden my paradise

I was transparent open and my life

was just mine just like that

I was scared

I tell you my friend

I felt like a dead bug

at the end of my table where I ate

for months it was there

dust we are

and so peaceful

the birds continue to sing

we are one

open your heart

Claus said say thank you

to the water

and you will get well.

You Would Know This

the afternoon asleep

like a log

the sun pouring and pouring

its light

the streets in silence

the lone man or two out

walking slowly

as though in a dream

the cars parked

deep in slumber

with always one rusted long dead

and here sometimes

when that rare breeze blows

a stray dry leaf

dragging along the road

is loud enough

to keep echoing in your head

50 paces or more.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

It Was A Mellow Scene

when afternoon light faded

and evening set in

over the green grass of the gardens

the white and yellow buildings

I would look up

at a second-storey window

bathed in light and shadow

at the blue or cream paint inside

with a picture probably hanging on a wall

the afternoon lovers leaving

the pink stone benches for others

who would soon arrive

a lone car in the distance

in the last rays of the sun

turning a corner

I would find the empty footpaths

blissfully asleep in the shade of the trees

and peace moved my heart

when the first hawker

arrived pushing his cart.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

You Will Have To Look

far and wide

and deep within

yourself

until the glazed bottom

turns into a green ocean

you will churn

and burn

and learn

everything you

need to know

and think

that is enough

you are wrong

to think of yourself

as King Kong

when you are being played

like a game of ping pong

ding dong

it rings a bell

and you say well

I’ve been here before

life show me

show me more

that’s the spirit I say

and if you think like this

get on your way

it’s a long time

a long time

before the day.

The Children Have Gone For A Ride

in the horse-carriage along the sea

we stand in a circle

passing a bottle of toddy

when we play football

I realise I’m so heavy I can barely run

I have zero coordination

with the ball

I fall and fall

shouting things

the wind brings back

with the sky that comes so close swaying

like a child eager to join our game.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).