Seed of a disease, the fever of my mind walked in disguise as the banal,
A thought not like poetry, a thought like the yielding rain fattened ground.
The ignored soil silently sighed; everyone came to see only the roses’ merry carnival,
Imprints of feet remained but no odes, no paeans in volumes leather bound.
Plain, this ordinary thought, never to smirk in beauty’s smugness, plain, this hobnailed donkey,
Unsung and despised, the stoic beast trudged in tired servitude.
Not Stubbs nor Husain captured the brute, for Caesar rode only horses,
Meekly it walked in the shadows of mountains, never to claim its beatitude.
Black this thought, perched beside a murder of red carrion crows,
Its whispers just as ominous as their beady eyes, fanned by wings of fury,
Obscured by the peacock’s parade the neglected raven gathers its forces in burgeoning rows,
Unrest slices through the nation’s stomach in a corridor of blood, change must here arrive in a hurry.
A thought proud dwells on a midnight pledge and three colours that fluttered,
Now a distant echo; this scarlet thought courts paramours in a house divided, in secret trysts.
A man they shot on a cold January, today for his face consciences are auctioned,
Soil , donkey and crow endure, wittingly and willingly the rest supply venom to evil’s sibilant hiss.
A thought not like poetry squatted on Lady Justice’s scale,
Don’t evict it, not yet, the lady owes a debt to the forgotten,
She has slumbered for too long behind the dark velvet veil,
Awaken her to the cries of those who from a slave mother were begotten.
A thought in rags toils in the deep coal mines of deprivation,
To feed the bottomless furnaces of greed,
Frantic, hopeful jabs on the voting machine, slashes of pens, yet no salvation,
Mighty pens have a price too; the rupee is printed on paper that is razor edged.
A coloured thought whirs in revolutions inside many a head,
Swagger not in arrogance over the uncomplaining earth, fortune is entitled to her caprices,
Silence is not the same as silenced, loud is this thought that has been coloured red,
Fear ruin lofty noses, flawed are the mirrors for princes.
Reveries of a bleak kind, restlessly reaching to resolve, in failure, in sorrow,
Incapable of negatives, chasing answers through quagmires where ideals go to die,
Wipe my crimson thoughts away; give me sanitised thoughts to borrow,
Thoughts a little like poetry, so I may dream anew more like a poet, in the gutter but with eyes turned to the sky*.
*Inspired by a line in Oscar Wilde’s Lady Wandermere’s Fan: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”