I come upon babul trees
On the sides of highway.
The trees reach upwards
To a translucent blue sky
As I crinkle eyes upward
In their green leaf space.
They have bleeding gum
On their ant infestations.
Man’s empty water bottle
Continues against babuls.
Trees continue with sky.
Car continues its journey.
Moonlight is back on roof and sky,
Flour rolled into dough for chapati
For us to take a bite after bite daily.
A coconut will at times take its bite
But a new chapati is always rolling.
Wives are holding up their sieves.
Wives will see their faces in sieves
The round and perfect full moons.
(On Karwa chauth , after completing a day’s fast for husband’s well being , a woman looks through a sieve first looking at the rising moon and then at her spouse)
A rich green bramble rises alongside
The cenotaphs into a competing sky,
Not that high but what a wind allows.
Wind controls mills in sky and below.
The bramble thinks it controls wind
Over royal dead under the cenotaphs.
But those are not royal in the tombs
Lying dead over centuries of sunsets.
You fond of taking short cuts ?
I have all the time in the world
And mind and feet to take them.
I hate to walk the paths in grass
Worn by short cut takers before.
I love to catch burr on pant leg.
The waters are traveling across fields
Under the telephone wires with birds.
The latter go up and down with train.
The waters talk to the high end of rim
Their talk spilling into the paddyfields
And reaching distant dry mountains.
At the wayside station they shall stop
Because they are thirsty in the throat
Of talking above spilling wagon rims.
May whistle be blown from the rear
In dark railway coat by thirsty mouth
So train will start and spill the fields.
The fields love water trains stopping
For thirst spilling beyond the throat
Ever since everyone’s eyes have dried.
Their birds on wires go up and down,
Their throats dry with waters in train
As all waters talk in train beyond rim.
The train is hungry for coal in its belly
But now thirsty for water in its throat
The way it puffs a pride in dry smoke.
The fields are cracked in their throats.
The roadside taps puff in a dry smoke .
All things are cracked and all eyes dry.
(A water train covering a distance of 345 kms from Miraj brings water to a drought-hit Latur town)
Mountains wore color of clothes hanging
On the edge of the road and live women
And lama boys in ocher smiles who ran
From sky to sky across mud mountains.
The women there sat on a high culvert
Who had come down from mountains.
And the children in red school uniform
Had slid down slopes to say A for apple.
Only in rains there had loose character.
They’d let go harsh boulders on roads.
They sometimes rumbled like thunder
In menacing dark clouds of our nature.
Oxen are mild faithful creatures
From a stew of straw and urine
In a tail swishing sleepless flies.
Gloom sits yet , twelve of clock
Awaiting the paper star to light.
A few drones appear in desert
A peace offering by far off men,
Ever lasting peace for strangers.
(Reference is to Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Oxen”. At the time of the nativity ,the oxen are believed to be kneeling in a tribute to the Birth of Jesus Christ)