An Insistent Music
The music was always in our ears
goose-stepping softly to a distant military tune
but the madman who perches by the signal
he could never hear it
then another beat rose to reverberate in our guts
drums and synthesizers in riotous processions
from dusk to dawn, emptying the streets into the sea.
the air thick with abir and gulal
eyes glazed, faces masked with revelry
the drums' increasing tempo to the tune of currency
the procession danced crazier the air
scarlet, scarlet the faces and scarlet
the sky as far as you could see
the madman left his perch as every procession
approached, joining in yet keeping a respectful distance
feet keeping time
waving multicoloured rags over his head
he whirled and danced his dance
laughing and clapping his hands
isn’t being shut in just as bad as being shut out?
the roll of drums and cymbals closes in
darkening the horizon
the music that was always in our ears
marches faster, stronger, louder, bolder
now he hears it too yet he dances
with the same abandon
swirling and waving
and the streets empty into the sea
then suddenly he is alone
just him and the music
he sees the boots marching
to a military tune
he stands there by the traffic light
arms by his side, the rags limp in his hands
his grey beard gone pink with the colour
settling around him on the asphalt at his feet
the night is dark uniform crisp sharp steps are all he hears.
Anjali Purohit is an artist, writer and poet living in Mumbai whose work, both in words on paper and colours on the canvas, explores an aesthetic that interprets personal experience and expression in its social context. She writes fiction and poetry and paints in a style that attempts a 'layered realism'.
This poem is 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.
Poems and artwork © Anjali Purohit
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