Portrit Of A Dog As Buddha - Poem by RUDRA KINSHUK
And you, Kashtanka, are just a misunderstanding.
Compared to a human being you’re no more than what
a carpenter is a joiner.
Luka Alexandrich in Kashtanka, Anton Chekov.
B I R T H
A chilly winter night,
a schizophrenic shower of rains.
And born on the pavement,
the labour room, you were exposed
to light and alcoholic darkness.
The bent-down branches of tall tress
looked odd iron works
of a crumbling building.
Flowers fallen thick on earth,
the wind heavy
with the smell of wet earth, drenched flowers
and of your slippery body.
You, not a dog moving to Mahaprasthana
but Kashtanka, my little Kashtanka,
born to starve and strive
and to peep into human bioscope.
Your mum died from
a wild beating by the villagers.
You too were often
beaten by the freaky village boys,
as horses by whips of whims.
You had to wage a fierce battle
with other pups
in the drain near the hotel.
A crumb of bread costs a days’s battle.
And one day you barked at the stars,
a winged invitation of the earth
to the distant blue.
A month of November,
the bitches grew as seductive as full rivers.
A spell of lunacy, a tumultuous cataract.
You ran after a bitch of your age.
Suddenly you heard
a faint cry of a human child from a dustbin.
Anger ran through your spine.
How many times were you beaten almost to death
for a piece of bread, for a piece of mutton
by those foeticides
who put on shadows smartly
and follow them al through life.
Pavlov knew that your tongue watered
for a feast with flesh of a human child.
But soon you woke up to a new awakening:
a child’s identity is
it’s a child, a piece of sky.
You drew near
and gave a bark of assurance and endearment.
But the weeping continued.
You couldn’t find out
how to console the weeping babe...
Who’ll rock the cradle? No hands...
My dear dog, you were born on the pavement.
No man gave a little shelter,
a little staff of burnt bread
to your mum
who writhed in severe labour pain.
Yet how did you learn this bodhitva,
the highest truth of life
a child is a child,
a spark of fire, a wisp of fragrance?
Kashtanka, you were a wonder
to this land of scriptures.
Only Luka Alexandrich knew.
At the very moment the pearl of bread
dropped on the floor
you with the swiftness of a leopard
picked it up and fled.
Men young and old ran after you
with sticks and iron bars.
People who could not fly
beyond the gold-embossed circle
due to the gravitational force
from the doorsteps.
Death was impending.
You were running like lightning
from death to life.
You were about to reach the horizon,
the opening of a new beginning.
Dear dog, you were beaten up
and thrown in a roadside-ditch
before the break of dawn
for you had played a river and diver
in open daylight with a bitch.
Man devotes his entire life
to master the art of concealing
the craft of masking.
Light never blooms,
the touchy oreole sleeps in starvation.
Dear dog, why didn’t you
read Freud and Foucault?
Like a frozen surprise
you are lying
with legs raised towards the sky
defying the amorous call of the moon.
Violence begets violence,
its periphery widens more and more.
And rivers dry up in our souls.
Now it is darkness,
you are no where to bark at the stars.
The slim-waist cat
is dancing merrily with the scar-faced moon
on the mossy roof of night.
Who’ll save the weeping babe?
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