11/14/17

Poem | Amlanjyoti Goswami





Elegy Written in a City Apartment…
(‘The plowman homeward plods his weary way, 
         And leaves the world to darkness and to me’- Thomas Gray) 


A shroud hangs over us
All day and
Night
 And the next day               and
Night and it
Refuses to move
The poison curls into our hearts
 And lungs
Noiseless
 Invisible
 Wordless
It seeps deep within us
And we do not know how to
 Breathe

But the doors were closed
              Long ago
      Even before
The air turned
Poison
Even before
The eyes burnt sunshine

         I kept half a window
 Open thinking the draught
 Might blow in, a cool spring breeze
That makes one forget the winter
And wakes up sleepy old bones
Tired with all that trouble


No no no
The window only invites
A snake of dust to enter
Stealthy
‘The narrow fellow’ in the air
winds its lithe way
 Sashays down the table
 And settles for good in the near and far corners
And then invites another to move along a fine
Gray line that no one noticed

All calls for help went
Unanswered
We too did not return calls for
‘Something must be done’
Screamed the bellicose television
Long switched off and now just a
Gathering of dust

I show an unusual interest
In numbers
The PPM goes up two hundred points
 When I open the door
For 15
Seconds.
It spikes Sergey Bubka, flips Fosbury
When I near the machine
It tells me I am the polluted one

It will take a long time for the air to heal
Much like ourselves, the edifices we build
With bare hands and stone hearts
And the love that pours out of our
Hearts, brains, lungs, tiny fingers…

They take a long time to grow…


Finally, we hope, on the seventh day,
That dust will rest.
The air will return to where it came from
Who knows where that is?

If we were a common
Planet human
The air too
clings to our
souls
And shows us

Who we are.



Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poems have appeared in publications in India, Nepal, the UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kenya and the USA, including Forty under Forty: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala, 2016). He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.



 pic courtesy : NDTV

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