The Colonel's Widow Stating Her Opinion - Poem by Sheena Blackhall
Through the thronged bazaar the widow's voice is angry
'Girl, for shame! Your child should be in school,
Or safe at home. Not begging on the streets.'
In the plush hotel, the staff salaam and bow
First at the desk with her long complaint.
'No tea making facility
Standards are slipping.
I'll put all this in writing'.
Her purring taxi waits,
To ferry her past Delhi's gutter-shacks:
By the ghat, she wilts,
Adjusts her sunglasses,
Straightens her broad-brimmed hat.
If you can't afford to feed, you shouldn't breed.
A Harijan swivels on festered stumps of legs,
Bump-slide down to the pool on calloused knees.
Five foot four in Marks and Spencer's socks
She has come to view the mosque
She's read the appropriate warnings.
The horrid, nasty troubles you can catch
Barefoot indeed! To visit a heathen shrine!
The sacred and profane
Size each other up, through coloured eyes.
In the lounge the temperature rises
The Central heating's gone.
If this was British, we'd soon get it sorted!
The housemaid's been up since dawn
To climb the roof, seeking the Sun God's blessing
The Hindu Salutation to the sun
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