Friday, July 21, 2006

Time Stands Still over Govandi Station

A kite flutters,
On a high tension wire —
Against a stark blue sky.
A beggar and old mother huddle
On Govandi Railway Station —
The dirtiest station in the universe.

He shows her a plastic watch,
Smiles, “See I have time,”
She, old, gnarled, wrinkled,
Looks through beady eyes,
“I have no need for time.”

Jagged slum roofs puncture the sky,
Open drains stink.
Half clad children toss rubber ball —
In frenzied passion and sloth.

Mother and son —
Hungry, disowned, dispossessed —
They eat and sleep in Govandi station
A plastic bag of muddy clothes beside them,
He extends a begging hand,
A black plastic watch on his wrist,
“God will perform miracles,
If you give poor man rice and roti.”

The kite flutters;
Time stands still over Govandi Station.

Sonnet for Mother - Her Last Journey

Decked in varied floral blooms,
Swaddled in gold filigreed shrouds,
Smeared with perfumes,
She travelled into the clouds.

An existence of love she had lived
Years of more giving than taking
A life of suppressed sobs and tears unshed
Of turnings and missed crossings.

She lies in rigor mortis beside father,
In an earthen grave dug specially for her,
On previous visits she knew this sepulcher,
And with her man, one day, she would rest there.

There is a time when we connect
And then we must all self-destruct.


In your bosom we wake up with fear,
In your sky there’s only unending tears,
You always roar, but within,
Hangs silence like a shroud of death.

You are rocked, periodically, by bombs,
Yet, we go about our business,
As if nothing happened, all’s well,
Are we too dazed to protest?

In your hungry, convoluted entrails,
Lie pauper and millionaire,
Separated only by the whimsy,
Of your very partial caress.

On your skyline of sooty chimneys,
Decaying concrete, bristling antennas,
Are the sad stories of fortunes,
Made and lost, just as lost loves.

City of gold, they say, which never sleeps,
Will you stay awake, tonight,
Wipe away our cascading tears,
And give our tired bodies some sleep?