Like giant steel pincers, clouds rise out of the Arabian Sea, grab the sun by his flaxen hair, force open his mouth and yank out his blazing golden fangs. In the ensuing vapid gloom, the sightless wind, like a marauding elephant, searches for her lost shadow.
Nature leans against a prostrating coconut palm and fills her scrap book with new images- the thirsty rain sinking into the cracked lips of the fevered earth, valiant little feet testing the profundity of dimpled puddles, ancient rivers lecturing fresh waves on the painful depths of the next abyss…
Does she pause, quill propped on the disappearing horizon, when she sees him huddled under the leaky canopy the old Peepal tree? Does she know him- last year’s homeless man, still staring at the lighted window across the flooded street?
ripped from a notebook
that reckless paper boat
my first poem weeping in the rain
Down the backwaters on a snake boat,
singing with shadows of coconut trees;
with sixty four oars to keep us afloat,
down the backwaters on a snake boat.
The cormorant choir strikes the right note,
green fronds whistle with the breeze;
down the backwaters on a snake boat,
singing with shadows of coconut trees!
he brought them back home,
the flaming sun in an orange basket,
a blanket of cloud over its head;
tracing the edge of the Vembanad,
the withering day broken
into twelve gasping fish
that flapped against his bony legs,
to the rhythm of the yellow waves;
a black arrow
was leading the way,
his net still caught on the left wing
of the slowest cormorant;
in shimmering sheets,
the wind paused to watch,
silent, afraid the
saffron dusk would shatter.
soon smells and sounds
would rush about,
would blacken the fish,
turn on the stars;
swallow the lake,
and scatter the birds;
leaving them like macabre stains
upon the ghoulish trees;
rocking to the last hum
of his plaintive love song,
the indifferent night
sketching the outline,
with a moon-tipped pen,
of tomorrow’s form
taking a ragged breath
under the sleeping water.