The Trident — A Poem

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Image Courtesy: CNN


Light leaks from the city's beak, 

a face crumbles under the glowing Ganges;

gold and silver plug up the holes

where spiders spat, lizards hatched

and destinies cached a twig-

a hand crackles in the bile of Time;

Death is a wounded owl hiding somewhere

behind the midnight of a tree – 

Death too has eyes; hunger has none!


Now, as I watch countless lanterns

waft across the sky, I wonder

if their flames have been taken

from the ones still drumming upon that pyre-

but then, when they dwindle down,

extinguished, I know they're not;


I look at one at my feet, pick it up,

tweak it, a sapping metaphor,

and then, to clear the mess, hurl it

towards a pack of mutts!


The wind flicks a mean shrug

while I look at the wind…


Sujata, your scalp-white palms,

where are the lines, those hell-marks?

Where is the rust on your tongue?

Are you the autumn wetting my window?

Are you the cloud that shed

its pollen across Valmiki's verse?


Are you the dew lighting a wreath of moss?

Where are the claws of your belly?

Where is the agony in your voice?

Are you floating in a pool of mudras?

Have you come seeking a sloka?

Have you come for a leaf of lotus?


Wherever I tread I leave behind

nothing but bowls of rice,

nothing but bowls of rice –

merciless angel, where are you?

Author's Note: This poem was conceived on Diwali, based on the recent death of a 11-year old for want of grain.