• An Insistent Music

    Anjali Purohit

    December 23, 2016

    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.




    'Fear' / Courtesy the author




    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.


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