Thursday, February 17, 2011

Banana leaves on fire

The other day I passed by the old man's house.
Its garden is in tatters, weeds growing like his grey
tufts which used to follow the direction of breeze.
He'd seat himself on his armchair and enjoy the droning
cricket-chirp; we'd wave at each other from either side
of his great iron gate, corroded yet tolerant to spider webs
and to occasional drizzles of memory.

On the western side stands clustered banana plants,
once a verdant, sunny cluster, now turning auburn and gold
as if its up in flames in the aftermath of acrid autumn.

At times in his delirium, he used to mutter a poem
with some of its lines dropped on empty shores.
The poem talked about a spring, some forty-thirty years old,
about jasmine fragrance and sandalwood-scent, and how
once a virulent storm plundered the deftly-woven dreams,
the dexterous designs of an embroidered fantasy
that remained elusive for ever.

The fire rages, with the empty chair, and the gate
bolted from inside.

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