A Bastard Wind in Jaipur

later, much later,
warming my hands over a vagrant fire,
I wondered what I dared to be,
I wondered how much I cared to see;

was I left behind by hot desert storms
that blow sand into Jaipur’s unwashed screams,
or am I of the wind that wafts in from the plain
weaving through delicate mustard fields,
what can I claim of these ancient hills,
whose is this this land, these tongue-tied trees,
did I come from peacock feather fans
that cooled the neck of kings and queens,
or was I the breath of a barren wife
who kneaded time into empty dreams;

for a moment I let her veil flutter
and felt her soft rose petalled face,
for a moment her bangles played a tune,
the palace faded from her gaze,
later, much later,
fingers darkened by her kohl,
I wondered where the past began,
I wondered what a stilled breeze can,
who owns the sky I cannot reach
to whom does the dry riverbed preach,
that bird that sews riven clouds
whose is the light she hides from gods,
why was she crying, beneath sequinned silk,
whose song fills my heart, whose is the ink?

I wondered if the scarred moon would know,
where the future ended, where dead winds go,
later, much later.


41 thoughts on “A Bastard Wind in Jaipur

  1. A very touching piece. For me it represents the duty we feel to constructs such as countries, the mirage of it, even when we know we do not have to feel it. I am sorry if I got the meaning all wrong, I really loved the poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is one of your best, I think. And that’s really saying something, considering what a mesmerizing and skilled poet you are.

    For now, this is what I will take with me to ponder:

    “warming my hands over a vagrant fire,
    I wondered what I dared to be”

    But you’d better believe I’ll be back for subsequent readings.


  3. “to whom does the dry riverbed preach,”

    I thought this was a very sad image. The hopelessness of pasts portending, even so to a present rather than a future

    Happy Sunday

    Much love…


  4. Again, your imagery is both haunting and sensuous, and the almost rhyme pulls the reader from one line to the next, chasing the music almost heard. All of it, reminds one of how when we try to go back and recapture a place, we must rely on the ghosts of feelings which can be as tongue-tied as trees.



    1. History unfortunately has become the preserve of those who can afford it. The poor seem to be as disconnected from it as from everything else, sadly. Especially when it is packaged and sold just for well heeled tourists.


  5. later, much later, we will all realize that everyone and everything are interconnected not only by the past, but also by the present and the future. lovely piece, thot


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