Arun Kolatkar

(1 November 1932 – 25 September 2004 / Maharashtra / India)

A Game Of Tigers And Sheep - Poem by Arun Kolatkar

Who has the tigers and who the sheep

never seems to make any difference.

The result is always the same:

She wins,

I lose.

But sometimes when her tigers

are on the rampage,

and I've lost half my herd of sheep,

help comes from unexpected quarters:

Above.

The Rusty Shield Bearer,

neutral till then,

para-drops a winning flower —

yellow

and irrelevant —

on the checkerboard

drawn on the pavement in charcoal,

cutting off the retreat

of one tiger,

and giving a check to the other;

and quickly follows it up

with another flower —

just as yellow

and just as irrelevant — except

that it comes down even more slowly;

a flower without a search warrant

that brushes past her earlobe,

grazes her cheek,

and disappears down the front

of her low-cut blouse —

where she usually keeps

her stash of hash —

to confuse her even further, with its mildly

narcotic

but very distracting fragrance.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 29, 2012



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