“A small town calls out
To ditherers from cities
Not unlike a village beckons
Drifters from a town.
A seemingly sedate oasis
Twixt the shifting sands of time,
It is deep by night, like silence
Without sons, and shallow
At day sans belated moons.
The present malingers here –
Under tree shades, at tea stalls,
On dung-scented temple streets –
Not as indulgent youth, but
As birds unused to flight, their
Wings unwary of another dawn;
The past lingers, too;
Less as memoir than memory,
In the lemons crushed for sherbet
(Or the roses strained into syrup),
The bus-baked roads built for tractors,
And stars now spied from woods,
Once splendid through the clearing
Of roofs, in hinterland drawing rooms!
Yet future – ah, The Future –
Looks marooned in slow time,
Like a deliberate guest, who
Having brought dreams hereabouts –
Found sweat to gift daylight,
And found a house – forgot to build
A home, save thoughtful collages
Of one painted in pregnant purple
By buses barreling down highways
On windless orange nights…”
And so it enters another day –
The small town cinema with
Its creaky seats and Dolby walls –
As its denizens celebrate
Light, sound and fizzy drinks, with
The odd moth for company!
Srinivas S hails from Chennai (preferring the name Madras) and teaches English at the SSN College of Engineering in the city. A theoretical phonologist by training, his interest in poetry is mainly non-academic. The act of putting pen to paper — or keystrokes to a blank page, as is more often the case these days — is, for him, an intimately therapeutic exercise.