Dilip Chitre

(17 September 1938 – 10 December 2009 / Gujarat / India)

Lost Images - Poem by Dilip Chitre

(For Ashay)
I am backing home where you died.
One year later, to find
Changes that mask our surrender
To the inevitability of life.
I remember my Ambulance Ride
With my friend whom you called Daddy.
It took me a whole year
To understand my loss.
A lifetime is not enough
To realize what it means to be human:
We waste what we are given
To crave for what we cannot have.
This much I know by now
As a maker of images:
A face erased in front
Of the mirror that is our Lord.
Vithoba was seen by Tukaram
Reflected in the deep end,
Where the river was its own source
And the ocean that waits for it.
Perhaps when you struggled for breath
As you finally choked to death,
You tried to forgive your parent
And the world he created with you.
And so, finally, you grew
Up to surpass your father--
Becoming a reflected sky
In the water we call life.
The first picture I took of you
In the Princess Tsehai Hospital--
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
In the last week of June, 1961:
Sister Aiyyalij held you in her arms;
And her hand was on your covered breast.
It showed the finger on her ring
As large as your closed eyes.
Your struggle for a breath
Began before you were born,
And on December 4, 1984
In Bhopal it all came back.
You struggled for breath all your life,
Fighting for life, and looking for its sign--
An autograph of awareness,
The reassurance of your own being.
You don't know that you've left behind
Images that tell, images that haunt,
Images in which others will find
The reflection that fills God's mirror.
Where the Lord Himself twists and turns
In agony that's the other side of bliss.
His reverse is us, his children,
A family that He craves to own.
And, in the end, there's no loss,
And there's no gain either
We neither live nor die
In the endless space of why.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 29, 2012



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