A Poem By Namdeo Dhasal
From Gandu Bagicha, 1986
There are neither flowers
All this is mimicry by mercy of His grace:
Sealed fragrance of musk.
Thus the chains on one’s legs are transformed
O revealed friend! O gardener!
What shall I recall?
Tears flood the soil of your sensibility.
In the morning and in the evening,
On your sterile field of silence,
Home Guards perform their drill.
On some festive day, a pederast politician
A Councillor preaches here.
The dancing water-pot of goddess Yellamma.
And an all-India women’s conference…
To a study group of streetwalkers.
Politicised crows listening to the proceedings.
Charas smokers, ganja smokers;
Pickpockets and thieves.
A mortal forest in the hurt heart.
O Arsefuckers Park!
What sad hour you’ve chosen
To strike at my roots.
Praise and curse;
Arousal and ears.
An eternity of darkness
Lined by a golden shore.
The deluge and all hell breaking loose;
The stigma of concealed love and
The harried soul;
The Inferno of lovers’ separation and the graveyard of compassion;
Extreme loneliness and the magic of the frightened;
Behind every word,
There’s a naked face hidden.
How can I yoke these slaves of the bed to my plough?
Your city of insatiable angels.
I bear a crown of agony on my head;
A luminous fountain of African anguish;
A wound has found its home in my heart---
Even words cannot open its doors.
A bear made of sunbeams is walking around with a banner.
No complaint can be registered here.
A wretched derelict of a poet like me
Starts dancing to corrupted words in a saint’s festival.
There are neither slogans nor shrieks of pain.
Every face of compassion wears a black veil.
You are allowing your downtrodden life to swim
In the hell-water of self-alienation.
What more can even the trees do now
Except scratch the armpits of bygone times?
Let me fill into my eyes
The darkness in the womb of the soil.
Allow me to listen to the counterfeit jingle of the coin
Of my distraught, sleek-necked dreams.
Allow me just once
To plaster the cracks in the sky of contemporary anguish.
Wearing a white shroud,
A formless silence sleeps in your courtyard.
And the sarcastic scrawl of the bleeding piles in the alphabetical chart swells up;
A mottled piglet tries to fondle grass…
The impotence inherent in good and evil;
The supernatural fingers caressing tresses of hair;
Female buffaloes of a high-yielding breed go on a rampage
In midnight’s outburst of ejaculations.
The master physicians handling them find themselves paralysed.
In a hall of mirrors there’s a chaos of mocking reflections…
How many images of oneself can one see?
Horses are being tattooed on my arms.
The creeping plant of my penis is about to flower.
Ibsen’s Doll is about to get married.
All this pining is to get out
Of this circular battle-trap.
The black truth seeks to ride the tortoise.
I see you on your moral path with the cataracts and the tear-peals in your anguished eyes.
After that, I remember your silent lips;
The distressed insect of your distorted body
Getting its wings painted.
The owl in the hollow of a tree intones its drone.
And you, you refuse to open the door of your perception.
Shall I now put on the boot of amazement on my lame foot?
Shall I now bell the cat?
Or shall I scrape off this intolerable grotesquery?
Shall I put out the flame
That glows between the beginning and the end?
[From Namdeo Dhasal:Poet of the Underworld, Poems 1972-2006, published by Navayana (navayana .org), 2007.]
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