ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​​​​​​​A Change of Climate


The Climate is changing’, said my granduncle

more culturally than environmentally,

more conservatively than you would reckon

The transformative gusts are raging,

Dark clouds are conspiring a storm,

A tempest is brewing at the horizon;

The good ol’ times are long past us…’,

he stares emptily like a fisherman reeling in his last haul,

recollecting figments of a bygone world beneath an obscure horizon

where he sees a breeze brew an out-of-season squall

and the winds of change blow

flipping the calendar,

the very winds that ruffle the vast, seasoned meadow

of his lush grey crop of hair

and the silver-feathery tops

of wild sugarcane

in his memories,

for they are no more to be found

spirited and ready before this Pujo 

the heralds of hair and the kāns grass reduced to just occasional wisps,

stillborn and shrivelling prematurely

moving barely, imperceptibly like him,

as he embalms his weak, decaying knees with diclofenac

the heat accumulates and then runs through his flesh, all the way up

the creaky staircase of our dilapidated ancestral home

(Did you know that ‘pedigree’ derives from the birds’ feet?)

as he makes his way

to rummage through narrow compartments

in search of old, putrid food, mindlessly stowed away, cold and still as dead flesh,

as that of our dear neighbour, old Uncle Rustom,

who we knew had long lay unattended at the Tower of Silence,

buried under an unfamiliarly clear sky,

his body devoid of the shade of primal wings

yet devoid of heat

the heat that is passed almost as an heirloom…

and melts snow off the Christmas plants

only found in books

and smudges the ink of their old leaves of paper and parchment

till they are barely identifiable

with the sights that they portend to

as old spring poetry pickled through summers

and devoured this winter, telling as much

about the season as desiccated cherry marmalade tells about the cherry tree,

say the one from Issa’s haiku with the buck or perhaps the immortal ‘darling buds of May’?

till your following heart loses its patience with the mind

abandoning the quest of an estranged extra-terrestrial past,

an ancient alien allusion from an unfamiliar tradition

till you start to question whether they ever existed

and if those singing and talking of the old times

ever made any sense?!

[An audio recording of this poem is available on the EPW website.]




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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2023
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