Saturday 20 February 2016

Poetry 2016 Shortlist, Debasish Mishra

Aftermath of A Cyclone

There used to be a temple
On the other end of the road,
Yes, there was a road!
It's bells rattled with holy hymns
Of the aged priest
And the zestful repetition
Of a fervent chorus,
While smokes and incense,
Proportionally wedded to each other,
Emerged out like Freedom.
There used to be a school nearby
Whose uniformed kids,
Screamed and smiled,
And seldom studied
Behind the erstwhile building.
In its vicinity was the playground
Where the same kids
With soiled hands and legs
Jumped and revelled
Amidst sweat, abuses, dirt and cow-dung.
And there was a colony,
Where innocuous men
Lived ordinary lives
Of petty merchants or contractual workers,
Dwelling in thatched roofs or semi-cemented walls;
A few prosperous ones,however,
Worked on higher echelons
And greater emoluments.
Their houses had larger rooms,
Spacious corridors,
And marble floors.
All their housewives - waited for them
In restless evenings
With hopes and tea.
Now, the wait is over.
There is no 'waiter' or 'waited'.
All are waived by the waves,
Like the temple, the school and the colony
Which are nowhere to be seen!
A strange degree of nostalgia
Still holds them though,
Unlike the physical maps
Where they are all missing.
Men and monuments
Are marred by Nature
Like sandhouses effaced by rollicking waves.
It's surprising how destruction,
Like darkness, can equate the odds,
By toning down everything
To a mere zero.
As days pass by,
A new habitation emanates
From the domains of the debris.
A new temple is made,
A new school is built,
A new colony is established,
A new town is born.
It seems as if whatever was ruined
Has been renovated by Time.
It is evidenced that the town
And the cycle of humanity
Are a pair of Phoenixes
Which rise from their ashes
Time and again.

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