Now This Hot October Day

is bad

it will not let me think

it leaves me here

sitting stupid

and sad

I will not have this

I think of trees

and remember the time

I first encountered

a squirrel

and my wonder

at it

in the cool morning

behind my house

where I stood on

ground covered in golden laburnum

and the squirrel

grey fluffy cute

with black stripes

climbing up the tree

pointing into the blue sky

I look at the birds flying

small black ones

in flocks

and I know

I am one of them

I feel what they feel

I feel the wind on my body

and I know I am home

in this vast dome

and now as I write

the squirrel runs out of sight.

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Now The Dimness

has become a black stone

this is dawn

this mountain

behind which the sun rises

come steam in the desert city

of skulls and ships

see how the heat

scorches life

to rust

in this harbour

these white pigeons

how they sit at the parapets

and coo

what do they say

the barking dogs

the noise of the vehicles

have burnt my mind

to cinders

and the crows the sparrows

what are they saying

I hear the storm

rising in the red earth

and watch how the dust whirls

and at night now

the cacophony rises

the demons come out

dancing with wild abandon

their red tongues out

thirsting for rain.

Mid-April Evening Heat

Sullen, I walk from room to room,

window to window,

bored after reading a book

I couldn’t get into all day.

 

My mind is scattered.

The maid is swabbing the floor

of the corridor,

the steamy staleness of my father’s room.

 

From the dining room window

I see the red roof tiles of the chawls in Mograpada;

they are hardly red anymore.

 

A flock of white pigeons have settled

on a roof near the mosque…

a man with a big stick appears out of nowhere

and they scatter away.

 

In the hall, the floor is wet.

It has been wiped clean.

Outside in the patch of lush green trees,

two beautiful white pigeons sit comfortably.

 

A small black bird flies across

a cable between two buildings.

A little farther away

seven or eight white pigeons have gathered

in a circle in the air.

 

Like the petals of a flower opening…

Like waves in the sky full of light…

And as I watch,

they are not there anymore.

 

 

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