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History is asleep historically

Four Poems by Venkatesh Emani



The Tragedy of War


Israel Has Chosen At Last

To Take A Shot

At Turning Gaza

Into A Parking Lot.

Come, Let Us Divide

The Mortuary Slabs.

Pluck An Eye For An Eye

In Dead-Houses.

Yank A Child

By The Umbilical Cord

Of His Mother's Womb

And Garland It With Skulls.

Come, Let Us Plant A Minaret

In A Woman's Womb.

You Kill My Mother.

I Kill Your Wife.

Come

Let Us Pluck The Eyes Of Infants

And Divide The Silence Among

Ourselves.

You Take The Foetus.

Leave Me The Entrails.

Come, Let Us Watch The Sun

Dripping With Blood

At Sunset...

Couldn't It Have Been Otherwise

When Maybe Someday

We Could've Borrowed

A Pebble From Newton

And Set Out To Sea... (Sigh)



Waiting For Ceasefire


History is asleep historically, smelling

Of human blood, industrial scum

And urchins stuffed with garbage

And gutter syrups.

History is asleep kingdoms away

In gulags of our private holocausts

How many Jerusalems shall we burn

Along the wailing walls

Of our fault lines.

When rains come to Kinshasa,

When children in silhouettes

Bleach on savannahs,

What burden of the white man

Shall we carry to Darfur?



A Child As Dusk


Sometimes My Father

Sits Within Me And Ponders

For My Sake. I Sit by his Elbow

At such times.

Many are the Moments

Of Sadness

Of Joy

And Of That Bereaved Silence of

Flying Kites on Lonely Afternoons

My Mother Begins To Die

Within Me

And The Cradle Within My Eyes

Stops Rocking To Lullabies

Like Rivers Slowly Drying Up

Of Memories

Like Mountains Turning Bald

Like The Earth Cracking Up

Like Winds Moving Around

On Crutches Of Silence.

The Skies Are

A Charcoal Box of Clouds Flung

Over the Retreating Back

of Yet Another day

Wending its Weary Way Home.

And I Hold On

To Her Shadows

As The Sun Begins To Set

To The Chattering Farewell

Of Birds...



An Unfinished Poem.


I dreamt of lullabies

In cradles of civilisations

Along the birthplaces of History.

I dreamt my mother had

Once again given birth to me.

I wept for the winds

Out in the skies. I wept

For the night that sat on a stool

Over the river, forehead sprinkled

With stardust and sweat

Of the Milky Way.

I dreamt my mother had

Once again led me by her hands

Through the long ages of Man.

Once again

The milk and honey of philosophy

The traditions of war

Once again

The green and sombre forests

Of speculative thought.


 

Venkatesh Emani

Venkatesh Emani is a poet. Having retired from service with the Government of India Railways, he is now learning to listen to roads humming at dusk, recalling the memories of the soft and unhurried prattle of pilgrims' footsteps stretching back into antiquity.

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