P.P. Ramachandran

BEFORE OUR VERY EYES - Poem by P.P. Ramachandran

A train derailed
By a wrong signal
Halted at a country lane
Leading to a paddy field,
At daybreak.

Dogs began to bark
At the unfamiliar screams
Of braking iron wheels.

Cats arched their
Hairy bow of alertness.

The village raised its head,
Hiding its keeyo-keeyo-curiosities,
Under its wings.

The outer surface of AC sleepers
Had got bruised,
Scratching against the thorny
Fence and tree branches.

A squirrel read out names
Loudly from the reservation
Chart of the compartment.

A foul smell came to the door,
Yawning, to enquire
Which station it was,
With the listlessness of a long journey.

Tired of waiting for the signal,
The driver jumped
To the next compound,
Took a ripe areca-nut
And opened the betel box.

As we saw
The scene became stale,

Dogs made a verandah
Of the train,
Smelling and pissing.

Cats turned the berths
Into hearths, curling
And curving.

‘Keeyo-keeyo' could be heard
From under the bogies.

It is not clear
When the train was signalled
To move. It was seen moving,
At a distance, along the ridge
Of the canal.

With no steam,
Smoke or sound.

A group of ants was
Dragging it along.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 15, 2018

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