Poetry | Al Qayar

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Al Qayar
Text by Tara Deshpande Tennebaum
Published: Volume 17, Issue 1, January, 2009

 

Aloft –
In darkened skies,
A masked vulture spies
No man, no child –
Only barbed divide.
A tourist goat
Entangled in the ferric coat.
Died unmilked, uneaten,
The dumb, proxy heathen.
Smoke and colour,
Sickly vapour.
Lifeless steel,
Infidel breed.
Capitalist infested,
Hated, acne pitted
Decay.
Ant traffic in disarray,
Oil spewing.
Nothing worth saving.

Adrift,
The tentacled monster bides,
Round and round, he circles;
Filthy, churning sea,
Political dysentery.
Jagged rock, a ragged flock
Of unpunished foreigners,
Visiting.
Cameras clicking.
Serpent like, trains hissing, buses teaming,
With salaried rodents, unsuspecting
Carrying packed lunches, cellphoning,
Squeezing, smiling, dare dreaming.
Addicts of liberty, wage earners,
Family lovers,
Middle class, upper class,
Independent women of evil gods.
Prophesised to die en masse
In mangled heaps of rot.

Airman,
Deafened by hateful roars,
Settling,
Unnatural scores.
Alas! His third eye does not see;
Bone and brick of sleeping enemy.
Life’s flower in heady swoon,
Hapless bird in honeyed tune.
Ragged moths in tantric tryst,
With saffron dusk and twilight mist.
Silence! Nature’s muse.
Lest sunlit ruse,
And kind deed,
Faze,
Bloodiest creed.
Or gentle gaze,
Mitigate,
A coward’s rabid rage.

Young man,
I could have spoken
In your defense –
Innocence,
Village bumpkin,
Difficult circumstance.
Blame instead, your kin
Who turned you from man
To weapon.
But tell me cannibal,
Could you not tell stone from child?
Were you suckled by wolves in the wild?
Even so, vengeance is not animal.
Misled, who said?
60 days and nights in camps,
Made you very able,
Capable
Of machinations
With routes and preview,
Of diabolical sophistication.

No, it was you,
You who chose to shed
Your intelligence for greed.
Poverty wants only to be fed
It doesn’t need 250 dead.
And not now, not then,
You cannot hold –
‘I was never told.’
For Garuda hovered
By daylight,
At your shoulder.
Bringing
Messages of peace from your Father.
Unyielding, through coldest night
Flying,
Till wings ripped
And bled.
The great eagle shrieking –
“Your deed –
A thousand will bleed.
Your brothers
Of moderate belief
Damned, without reprievev To contempt and suspicion.”
Is this your love for fellowmen?

Armed seaman;
Had you at shore’s brink,
Stopped one moment to think
Of laws consecrated, Of God;
He said, ‘Kill Thou shall not.’
You chose instead
To misinterpret
A holy book.
This day the earth shook;
Shattered glass, cindered wall,
We will rebuild it all.
But what of the two little ones;
Brothers in blue caps and woolly feet.
Did you see their eyes entreat,
When you bludgeoned them
With your gun?
At this distance,
Apostate, you must fall
From Paradise
And lose it all.


Tara Deshpande Tennebaum is an actress (Bombay Boys, Style) and writer (Fifty and Done) and divides her time between Mumbai and Boston, where she runs a catering company (www.azaleacatering.com)

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