Forensic Medicine - Poem by Gieve Patel
A case in point, the expert says;
A woman thrust glowing faggots
Her son’s sparrow should nest.
Puerile in-law practice, he says,
But good as any other
To set the story rolling; begin
With a burn in the sparrow’s nest
To extend over all therefrom emerging
Fan and flourish of the world:
Hold the foetus tumbling through,
And before it may express
Surprise at a clean new blast of air,
Lay subtle finger over mouth and nose.
Watch it blue.
If rather you would be coarse, go ahead,
Use rope and hatchet, knife, stone, bullet,
All you would on the more aged;
Bodies whose gel of blood and skin
Have not exchanged years against sweet air
Will not relinquish with ease.
Against these devise infinite means,
The pictures in my book will instruct.
Change vantage point inch by inch
To discover them all: recall grace
Inherent in each new part, find
Weapon against it. Lop off limbs.
Smash teeth. Push splinters
Underneath nails and lever them
Off fingers; offer acid in a drink of wine,
The house of song is blasted. Soft skin
That clothes the gentlest dunes will retract
Before knife and bullet. Proceed.
Flick pages. The regal column of the neck
Upholding the globe of sight and sound
Is often undermined; or straight
Charge at speech and sight, chop off tongue,
Gouge eyeballs out, hammer nails into the ear.
When you have ravished all, missing
No entrail, do not forget
To return where you started: with a penknife
Strike at the rising sparrow’s neck;
With ends of twine strangle the orbs
That feed him seed;
And outrage the sparrow’s nest.
You are now full circle
Not thought of, not done before.
[From: How Do You Withstand, Body; Publisher: Clearing House, Mumbai, 1976]
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