Walks Behind, Remains Remote - Poem by Shakti Chattopadhay
He walks behind me, from a polite distance,
Keeping his eye on me. I try to hide in a crowd;
He pretends his mind is elsewhere, or, at best,
He looks as if he is fooled and separates himself.
Still he follows. I move quickly, silently,
Behind a crumbling wall, its moss rubs off on my face
When suddenly I find him holding on to the other side,
Standing, keeping up an appearance of studied regard.
His eyes, expressionless, he keeps fixed on me
Yet, in fact, he may be looking upwards
Seeing a bird, the clouds' movements, or the old tiles
Of a primary school. When it begins to rain,
Unconstrained, he moves under my umbrella, like a snail
Drawn into its spiral shell. Nearing, he remains remote.
[Translated by Sibnarayan Ray]
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