Of Moghul Times And Red Fort Days - Poem by Geoffrey Fafard
In Alexander Frater's book 'Chasing The Monsoon' is acouple of beautiful lines from Kamala Das - her work -- In The Time of Drought--
Have I wished as a child to peel back the night like old wallpaper and burn it. To hold at monsoon time the wounded wind in my arms,
To lull it back to sleep'…….
We went to Chandni Chowk to walk the streets
Narrow, broken, old streets dating from god knows when
Sweltering 40 degrees in the Punjabi sun
Sweat beads on brown skin, sweat runs on white
From the Red Fort to the Grand Sikh temple
And the huge seething mass of humanity is here yet again
The streets and laneways disappear in all directions
And the good afternoons, hellos, namastes and greetings run thick
Its then they come at me, the rooflines above the streets
The crumbling Whispering buildings from an era lost
Ghostly parapets, gauntlets, memory stained and lost in their age
They were finished, ruined sixty years ago but here they remain
High away behind like old sentries, like parents
Above the choking, above the traffic, above the now
Above the embarrassment of a population gone wild
Behind me rests the Fort resplendent in red
Bathing in the glow of the afternoon
Wits army of airborne warriors, the hawks and crows
All the birds of India ib never ending spirals
In front of me Chandni Chowk goes on and on
'The bookshop you request sir is ten minutes walk only that way'
And the closeness squeezes, frightens and caresses
All at one time
Me who treasures space, yearns solitude and covets aloneness
Am stunned by my desperation to return to these streets
Old Delhi streets
Of Moghul times and Red Fort days.
Geoffrey Fafard in the Punjab Sept 2011.
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