Saturday, March 29, 2014



 In yogic meditation the blind beggar waits
 For the last coin to clink in his rusty old can.

He can't see the streetwalker hovering in hope
For the chance passer-by who just might make her night;

Nor the cop, drunk to stupor and sprawled in a halo
Of spew by the kerb, right below the street lamp;

Nor the dog and the bitch in the lamp-post's precarious
Shadow, conjoined in a quiet coital act.

The temple pujari tots up his day's takings
And locks the cage door on his gilt-edged ward,

Picks a stone off the footpath, hurls it at the dogs,
Crosses over to the woman and takes her by the hand.

Arm around her waist, he leads her to his shack,
Walking past the beggar, flings a fistful of change;

Some jangles on the sidewalk, some clinks in the can;
The mendicant is shaken from his pensive trance.

He scurries round the pavement, gets each last coin in;
Then, spreading out his gunny sack, turns in for the night.

By the kerb, the cop stirs, turns over and snores;
And the deity behind the bars stares, stony-eyed. 

Vivek Khadpekar
Ahmedabad, 1988

By the same author:  Rites of Passage / Vespertinal  

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