Paeans - and Aches

over the years

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Calcutta

All I saw of you was:
an airport
(I do so prefer a train)
and a hospital
(and, believe it or don’t, hospitality)
and a bureaucrat’s room
(power and history in the dark wood)
and a bridge in the distance
(the new one, not the bridge)
and a tram
(from the outside)
and old buildings
(from the outside)
and a coffee shop in a posh hotel
(alas, not from the outside).
Next time, Calcutta
(next time).

Delhi

Have you no middle ground?
Is it only
sweat or shiver?
Dust or flowers?
Thin cottons or wooly layers?
Lime juice or hot chocolate?

Guwahati

Secure ’twixt your hills
And your own Garden Time -
Indian; but not.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Haflong

The clouds here aren’t lonely.
They caress hillsides, embrace trees, play with leaves.
They lounge on the roads, rising lazily to let a car pass
Settling down again even before the tyres go around the corner.
They talk to the flowers, and play with the dogs
       And, I hear, in partnership with campfires,
       Disorient the birds in nearby Jatinga,
       So that tribesmen can club them out of the air.

They laze, cradled like pet cats,
In the laps of high valleys.
Damp with promise, they leave traces of their passage
In the grass, and in the smell of the carpets.
The clouds wander here,
But it’s only me that’s lonely.