Table of Contents
  Index
  About the Poetess
  My Father's Country
  Azadi: 1989-1995
  The Yellow River
  Father
  Summer Rain
  Anantnag
  Mother's Day USA
  Mahtab
  Bride in Red
  Seasons
  Priya
  Refugee
  My Dream
  The City of Dread
  Kashmir Today
  Sukeshi has a Dream
  Autumn Rain
  The Story of Ganesha
  Washer Woman
  The Ever New Poet
  The Yogi
  The Rishi
  My Death
  Self Spectre
  Autumn Song
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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The City of Dread

Yes, they say, it is everywhere.
In courtyards children play
muffled Mujahids and uniformed
men. The local policeman,
played by the whiny, snot-nosed,

thinnest legged kid,
perhaps the poorest among them,
gets killed while watching
the antics of the slayer 
and the slain.

Kings and king makers play dice,
bet on their mother, not the wife.
And, the sly one, who created
a seamless, timeless web only
watches this time.

There is nothing in it for him.
He does not work for free;
he has a fee. In the City of Dread,
they still bake the same bread.

It is poisoned, and the wine
goblet, or the cup of peach blossom 
tea is not what it looks like! 
Who is the betrayer?
Who will fight the duel?

Who will say: "this is 
too much for me. I shall drown
myself in despair."

When she does, her blue
lotus robe will haul her up. 
Weeds and black thorns
in her hair will point a finger?

II

In a poet's dream
a rare light cleans up the smog,
as he sights his father
crossing a mountain river. 

They say it removes sorrow, 
eases hurts of timeless parting.
The city comes alive then,
lithe, fragrant, sun drenched.

He sees ivy
creeping along the red brick
wall of his house, his austere home.

The secrets of life are syllables
of the day, the month, and the year:
the sacred, scientific codes

of the Vedas the poet's
grandfather read, and his father.
Fire altars of Rigveda are
a long lost language. 

The poet believes in it, and the spoken
word, performed ritual, remembrance
that cannot die. He has

to be reckoned with, years
speak to him, constellations say:
"we are here, chained to stone. 
You will free us." 

[© Lalita Pandit, May 30, 1998].

 

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