• Flawless

    and other poems by

    December 9, 2016

    Ankita Anand




    द्रोण-दृष्टिकोण दोष 

    एकलव्य ने चरणों में रखा अंगूठा काट,
    तब पर भी नहीं हुई क्षुधा समाप्त।
    सदियों तक निरंतर होते रहे आघात,
    कभी अंगूठा रहित, कभी बनाया अंगूठा छाप। 

    द्रोण, यूँ कब तक माँग-माँग कर छोटे होते रहोगे,
    अबकी एकलव्य ने अंगूठा दिखा दिया, तो कहाँ मुँह छिपाते फिरोगे?




















    © Jean-Michel Basquiat, 'Riding with Death' / Wikiart





    On the steps leading to the Betwa
    The boy was selling yesterday's flowers.

    My friend had a question for him.
    "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

    "I'll join the army," was his response. 
    My friend smiled: "So you want to serve your country."

    He continued to hold the water's gaze 
    At the point where the sun had plopped down and broken into splinters.

    "They give you shoes. And clothes. 
    They take care of everything."

    He was planning to live
    Unaware that the arena tickets had already been sold.






    Uniforms do not err;
    To err is human.

    Does superhuman at times include inhuman?





    81v6s-rui8l-_sl1500_William Cheselden, 'Side View of a Praying Skeleton' / DAC






    पुराना मुर्गा, नया चोर 

    पास जब खिलौने नहीं थे,
    हम चोर-सिपाही खेलते।
    झूठमूठ की बंदूक से
    कभी तुम मरते, कभी मैं। 

    अब सचमुच के हैं तमंचे,
    हम अब भी होते दो हिस्से।
    पकड़म-पकड़ाई का अब भी दौर,
    बस खेल रहा कोई और। 







    गौ राशि की कन्या

    हमारी लड़की गाय है।
    आप इसे जननी, भगिनी, भार्या . . .
    किसी भी किरदार में डाल सकते हैं।
    बासी रोटी, घास-फूस, प्लास्टिक,
    कुछ भी खाकर एक कोने में पड़ी रहेगी।

    और ख़ासकर उपयोगी सिद्ध होगी तब,
    जब इसके नाम पर, इसके मान के लिए,
    आप अपने गौरव की लड़ाई लड़ेंगे।







    Incomprehension Exercise

    With Twitter and Facebook
    And useless alleys and Jantar Mantar,
    Which were benevolently left out of Section 144,
    Allowing people the small mercies
    Of boasting, roasting, masticating,
    Everyone has developed the bad habit
    Of having an opinion.

    The evening smoke
    Rising from the roasting corn
    Wraps your heads in a sensuous aura
    And you think you are the bosses—
    Bosses on everything
    From malnutrition to the moon.

    Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you
    But you are not experts.

    It takes a certain level of expertise
    To understand why there is no alternative
    Why people must be killed
    Why children must be maimed
    Why rapes must be committed
    Why lawmakers must flout the law.

    It takes hard work, blood and sweat,
    Erasing histories and creating fresh ones under tight deadlines
    To develop the nuanced understanding
    That with great power comes great arbitrariness.

    If those in positions of responsibility
    Didn't abort the questions brewing in others
    They'd be reminded in a flash of their own,
    And of the memory of others in similar positions

    Who tried to be careful custodians of power
    And started wondering
    Who they were
    Responsible for
    Accountable to
    Whose purpose they were fulfilling
    Whose they had pledged themselves to.

    They would then face
    Sleepless nights, arrests, enquiries,
    And the feel of a bullet injected inside their temple by their own hand.

    A wise man learns from others' mistakes.
    The wise men of today know
    That to peer too deep into the sockets of the skull in your hand
    Invites the risk of your skull soon being in another's hand.
    They know the only way to keep their head is to bury it in the sand.
    But you, all of you worthy of such men's contempt and disgust, you just don't understand.





    14-02-27-2131ne05c-goltzius-christiesHendrick Goltzius, 'Study of a Hand' / Christie's







    एक पत्रकार की मौत 

    तुम्हारे लिए ज़रूरी हो गई
    क्योंकि तुम्हारे हिसाब से
    वो अपने कद से ऊपर उठने की कोशिश कर रहा था। 

    पर अगर वो इतना ही गौण होता
    तो तुम्हें ना दिखता,
    तुम्हारी नज़र में ना चुभता। 

    और अगर तुम इतने ही ऊँचे होते,
    तो उसी की लाश पर अपने डगमगाते क़दम रख
    तुम्हें उचक कर नज़र में आने की
    मशक्कत ना करनी पड़ती।






    The author blogs at anandankita.blogspot.in.  ICF has previously published her 'Poems for Kashmir', which you can read here.  The poems above are part of our unfolding Citizens against War series of literature and art, initiated in the spirit of listening: to our poets, artists, fellow citizens, against war and warmongering.

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