Syed Ahmed Shah
The Day Of The Vulture - Poem by Syed Ahmed Shah
They started arriving at the venue from early morning,
alone or in small groups.
Gliding noiselessly like retreating soldiers of a once great army
... reaching their base camp.
Shadowy ghosts on cushioned toes, timidly settling on the few trees
that are still allowed to stand like miniature mementos.
They folded their six feet or more of
magnificent arrogance only to reveal
skeletal memories of a lost empire, spread over
sensuous mountains, bashful forests and pregnant paddy fields.
The Old One regarded them with sad eyes and started the roll call;
A scarcely audible squeak.
Long periods of silence sandwiched between lazy responses.
The gaps outnumbered the check marks.
Roll call over, the Old One started to speak.
The voice rattled the branches of the ancient banyan tree.
My children, I have good news; Nay, great news,
from the great mountains; Your days of misfortune
are finally coming to an end!
The barbarians have atlast vindicated my belief;
They are foolish as they are arrogant.
Can you imagine what these fools are planning?
They are stopping the great river.
Now, now….please do not laugh; I know it sounds ridiculous.
But this Old Bird never lies.
I have verified this report from multiple sources.
It is correct; The fools are indeed building this contraption.
They believe that their molehill would last for half a millennia;
Himalayan insanity, matched only by the height of their stupidity.
Soon the great valley will be cleaned of these abominable vermins.
Just imagine, thirty million bodies trapped in the mud!
Oh, what fabulous feast it promises to be.
A feast to celebrate the reclaiming of the great land
that originally belonged to the rest of us.
So my children, prepare for the grand feast.
Thirty million nice, juicy, rotting bodies trapped in the mud… Wow! !
(26th Jan 2012, Bokultol, Guwahati)
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