Such A Bright And Sunny Day

it is today

the forests and mountains

are sparkling green

the birds are chirping

and the whole mood

outside is of childhood

and wonder and magic

and just as I am thinking this

I can hear my gate opening

and who comes to meet me

but Phantom and I see following

him is his white horse

whose mane is like silk

and suddenly it takes off

into the sky

and I am again surprised to see after it

Superman now flying past

and Spiderman climbing the houses

and the trees and I laugh in joy beyond imagination

and as the mountains are echoing with laughter

there is Batmobile at my gate and Batman is inside it

and Phantom and I now get into the car

and we drive off into the mountains of Kumily

and there are these huge yellow butterflies

the size of people and Batman Phantom and I laugh

and then the three of us start singing

in such happiness Cinderella appears out of nowhere

and following her are Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

and there is also Tintin under a tree waving

and Tarzan howls as he flies across the forest

hanging on to nature’s hand

and Suppandi has his meal of mangoes

and I suddenly find that I am a rainbow

and the music in my ears is the silence

of yellow tables and there is this book

with a telephone dial in it which I am dialling

and I am then in paradise and yellow chicks

greet me with their happy cries and I can understand

what they are saying isn’t it great Dominic they ask

isn’t life the greatest thing in the world and behind them

are so many other animals and slowly I find the shadows

of humans moving like mist and my heart now is open I have seen

the light and here’s a big hug to everyone come let me hold you tight.

The Tree Trimmers

have come

and are cutting

the branches

leaning onto my roof

we are in mid-monsoon

in Kumily

and mist moves from three places

in the mountains

so beautifully

I feel calm

as the birds chirp

and I say good morning

to my neighbours passing by

and while chasing a monkey

the other day I tripped and fell

on the terrace and hit my head

against the parapet

later I found the whole thing

very funny

and yesterday evening

my neighbour Laxmanan

opened my gate

and entered my property

I was in bed in the front bedroom

with the curtains drawn

looking at the trees of the valley floor

and Laxmanan went back soon

chasing two chicks trying to get them

out of my gate and I found

that very funny too

how our life passes in this misty rain

like laughter and the branches

being cut down also seem to be happy

as they crash readily

onto the ground

and that too seems so funny

the cocks crow in joy

and the tree trimmers

swing their machetes

onto the branches

which is now sweet music

to my ears

and soon Laxmanan

is urgently talking

to someone

in fact

he is instructing

his aged grandfather to bathe

and there is such focus

such seriousness

in what he says

I can’t help but burst out laughing

now this is the beautiful part

of being in Kumily

and my childhood toys

on the desk in the hall

are all alive

the cars moving

the elephant walking

and the cup I won

in a sack race in school

shouts hooray!

Ah The World Is A Day Old

it is a baby

smiling and

the screeching

of the green parrots here

is magic

heavenly to hear

like Mrs Brown’s operas

when I was a child

those thundering voices

that lifted the sky

would waft

from her flat

on Adenwalla Road

in Bombay

across the street

to my house

where I would climb

up the window

astounded by the power

of the singing

and then I could see

the rewards

up in the blue sky

through the canopy

of green trees

that covered the road

there were angels flying

high up

gliding in glee

to the music

and as I hung 

onto my window grill

like a monkey

I strangely found myself

transported into

the blue skies myself

and a pink angel

with blue eyes

like the ocean

waved at me

and shouted bravo!

This Part of Thekkumkadu

is so beautiful

the cows graze

on the green grass

of the sloping valley

in the morning

and the brown cow

the white cow

and the black cow

are all so happy

munching on the grass

and when you hear them lowing

you know the real joy

this place has to offer

it is so calming so pastoral

so comforting

I saw once long ago

in my uncle’s farm

in Meladoor

a big rectangular pit

in the ground

and you would

not recognise it

until you saw

the green flapping

and realise there’s

water underneath

and I at once

felt the danger

in my heart

that was an exciting sight

hidden deep in green

in my childhood

and here the bulbul sings

in the morning

so sweetly

no classical singer

can match her

no one can

no one in the world

has a voice so refreshing

notes so enchanting

my mind is cleansed

with music my heart

is pumped by the harmony

and I know this

is a special moment

one where the doors

of my life

are thrown open

the melodies are so

entertaining sometimes

beyond wonder

I am thrown out

of myself to no one

do I belong anymore

I don’t claim my body too

for this moment of miracle

where I am the purity of

my mind free of itself finally

flying through the valleys.

From My Terrace

I can smell the forest

so leafy so green

and the warm sunlight

on my skin

I have an early childhood

memory

it is so precious

it sparkles with streetlights

and there is this lit café in Bombay

in the night

I’m not sure exactly where

and the bulbuls are better

than any musician

and they look so sweet too

I am still in this world

though it has changed dramatically

having died

and me I don’t know

am I a ghost

I sometimes ask myself

are you sure you are yourself

that there has been no interchange

some error mix up

have you forgotten something important

that happened

are you alive

I ask myself

and I will not have this anymore

see so many people are ghosts

so many are not themselves

at all

these old women walking

up the street bent broken

ah life is sour

and it can get worse

so take your

heart in your hand

and squeeze it dead

I tell myself

and then I find silence

inside me

a deep valley in the dark

and I am running in the park

and the dogs bark

and slowly I wake from my nightmare

and say

O life you are sickness

and decay

skull and bones

and nothing else

and the earth turns

to sand under my feet

into which I sink

till I’m fully gone.

Through The Thick Forest Of Trees

there is sky

and ahead the past

is a fading picture

the green mountains

are beautiful and happy

they stand in a trance

as the birds chirp

in the sunlight

my neighbour laughs

so loudly and so much

I am reminded of happiness

and a white cow grazes

on the forest floor

and Claus told me

Shahul’s son saw

some tiger cubs

and a tigress

in the forest

where he had gone

to bring back

his cow

and I think of

a shining deep blue peacock

with its bright green circles

its beauty and its grace

and I think how nice

it would be to have one

strutting across my property

also a nice brown deer

with white spots so lovely

so wonderful its face its eyes

so pretty I would like to have too

looking on in innocence and wonder

and Claus goes past on his bike

and shouts hello and I shout back

hello too and Aravind is exercising

he is running up and down the stairs

of his nearly built new house he is also

hanging upside down from the terrace

and calls out hello to me as he passes by

and I think of my own childhood when I was Emperor

and owned vast lakes across which I sped by in my speedboat

or rode my black stallion across my open green plains and endless mountains

and now as the breeze blows I find I have grown wings and am flying in the sky and a black and white bird flies close to me and says hi.

There Are Two Trees

flowering yellow in the forest

a puff of feather floats across

me on the terrace rising steadily

into the trees silence is golden sun

shining so bright the green canopy glows

and up above there is bright light in the blue sky

there are clouds so wildly shaped in wonder you look

with awe up above you where freedom flows freely like air

and the scene is so pure it is like the burning flame of childhood

it is memory imagine friend imagine yourself in a train and the vast

countryside outside imagine the endless red earth the lands of brightness

and the rivers flowing white and blue and green and muddy brown and the sun blasted

fields alongside the mountains flying the sand coloured the black the big the grey the green

imagine the people in their different clothes who didn’t see you and who saw you and who you saw

and who you didn’t see the animals the dogs the cats the cows the bullocks in the water and the

breezes blowing and the women bending down and working and your heart bursting with joy you so

happy with life so golden and silver and sparkling you shout with heart in your human happiness in

your celebration like a bird singing and a woman in the field bursting into laughter begins to run.

And The Sunset

was so beautiful

one part of the sky

in the distance

was burning red

and dark clouds

loomed beyond them

at one point

it looked like

a beautiful brushstroke

by some giant artist

and the sky was blue

right above me

and there were

big white clouds

that did not move

and they looked wonderful

and then

there were clouds

that moved

like fog covering

bigger areas

and as I stretched

my neck back

to look

there was the half moon

in the sky

and clouds

were chasing it

and soon covered it

completely

though the moon

emerged again

partially first

and then fully

and the trees

all around were smiling

as fresh breezes blew

they swayed in happiness

their multi-shaded green

swooning in joy

the leaves twinkled

like stars

of various shape

and birds flew about

adding magic

to the spectacle

and then

above me

I saw the light

silver at the head

of the cloud

how it shone

so strong and bright

it put me in a mood

of deep delight

and I thought of the skies

of my childhood

and I wondered

why I felt sad

when I saw

birds flying

in the distance

and now I realise

that we are

living creatures

doomed to love

but not know

each other

that we will

always be too many

that we will grow old

that we will wither and die.

Chopin Had A Magic Window

like I did

in my old building

everything you saw

was indisputably yours and sweet

the sunlight shone and squares

came to life

the moonlight shone

and the stars

started dancing

you skated along

and everything you saw

was magic

you were creating life

you had a heart

to rejoice and cry and remember

it made coloured birds that sang

the sweetest songs

it made everyone so happy

they believed in this magic

that made such beautiful people

they looked at you and smiled

where does this world end

they asked as they looked you in the eye

at the same time you see the birds fly

and Ruby the cat came and sat so close to me

for the first time

for so long so quiet a big fur bundle of colour and still life

and then she reached over with her paw and touched my thigh.

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).