A Boundary Too Far

there is a roar from the television on the far wall,
deafening chants urge the ball as it rides the skies,
time bites a lip, gravity weighs the crowd,
and makes bargains with the wind,
she pours another cup of tea,
brewed long with sugar and milk,
and ginger, the cold still bothers her,
he is berating the commentator
in his finest Cambridge tones,
from Kunderan to Tendulkar,
from Cowdrey to Hussain, he knows his statistics,
applause erupts on the street, and whistles,
what was once the imperial office block,
is now a street full of tiny shops,
the boys are huddled in front of the electronics store,
watching the game,
no one will shoo them away now,
the home side is winning and Eden Gardens is aflame,
eight year olds in torn shirts
are dancing between hand carts peddling
fresh greens and orange flowers,
a slow train grumbles in the distance,
soon it will be time for the evening prayer,
women stop to check the score
their bright plastic baskets heavy with tomorrow’s cooking,
their hearts light with smiling gods and soaring sixes,
a lone man weaves through the throng,
his tie askew, in his bag parathas and chicken
from the Punjabi diner downtown,
a phone glued to his ear as he calls home,
there it is still noon,
from the small flat they bought last year,
his wife sometimes watches the sun
sink into the Thames,
he shakes his head as the next ball crashes into the fence,
no one notices him,
at the intersection,
standing alone,
waiting
for the lights to change.

#ViewFromAPostcolonialArmchair
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30 thoughts on “A Boundary Too Far

  1. I’m not a big sports fan, but if I’m ever at a game I always find it much more interesting to watch the audience – and this audience was particularly fascinating.

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  2. Sometimes we are like that lone man, so absorbed in self & oblivious of the surroundings we’re in..ha & can’t send the balls to the faraway boundary…nice to see Tendulkar pop up here, my heroes were Vishwanath & Gavaskar 🙂

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    1. Oh no, colonialism can never be viewed as better. Freedom was hard earned and is much valued… tea and cricket and the English language however stayed on and are much appreciated…

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  3. “Evening prayers” tipped me that this wasn’t set in England — I was thinking soccer — and googling “Eden Gardens” got me to cricket in India: But the passion was what stretched the boundary so far, made the Thames and the Ganges of the same water. Thus an English colonialism (cricket) becomes a sacred national passion after the English depart, as the English used in many postcolonial Indian writers improves the language. The lone man calling home was a fine way to show the distant connection.

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    1. Yes Brendan, cricket and tea got absorbed into our cultural fabric, though we are well rid of the yoke of colonialism. When I first wrote the poem, I imagined, infact wrote, lone Englishman, but this way it is open to interpretation which is better I suppose. Thanks so much for googling the context… much appreciated.

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  4. How jaded am I? Throughout this scene of life, I was waiting for death, waiting to hear a bomb is in that man’s bag. I’ve learned about myself herein, but will have to come back and read the poem again later.

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    1. I read the poem again… trying to follow that fearful thought… The beauty of poetry Susan, it manifests our joys or fears or just the craziness around us. Always good to get your feedback.

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  5. You really know how to set a scene incredibly well…..the whole thing is so easy to imagine because of your words….I enjoyed this in particular: “time bites a lip, gravity weighs the crowd,
    and makes bargains with the wind”—just that idea of bargaining with the wind. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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