5 am Images of a Street in Delhi

And other poems

5 am Images of a Street in Delhi

Upon the sand-heaped beds, the splooting dogs
Begin to wake; they have secured the night
Quite well. A panhandler sleeps by the logs
Inside a patched mosquito net. No sight
Of other souls. A tireless dhaba smokes
The capon for transporters who repose
On the unsteady charpais. This evokes
Old scenes from villages where, at dawn’s close,
All clustered at the purlieus, sipped red tea,
And boisterously walked by the bazaars.
The hour is the same, but all I see
As daylight breaks are two, three splitting cars,
A morbid street that might have never smiled—
On it, an almswoman who’s weaned her child.

The Temple Girl

Late Winter’s brume surrounds her glowing cheeks
As bushes contrast with red Salvias.
Garbed in a cardigan with bistred streaks,
She steps inside the holy mandapas
Of Shiv and Durga, spritzes water on
Their feet, and with a flannel, gently rubs
Them. It’s her foremost duty every dawn.
Then, hurrying to the stream, she fills two tubs
To wash the street outside the temple door.
Her ma (her guide) helps her to striate bands
Of Sandal on Lord Shiva’s brow. “Each chore
Must be neat”, she tells her and quickly hands
The Devi’s cloth. They change it every day.
With these the leading tasks are done. She sweeps
The rugose leaves; sits with her ma—they pray,
And if the diamantine sunlight peeps,
It suggests: God is pleased. How great His art!
I think while watching from beneath a tree:
“One who has perfection of eyes and heart,
The Lord appointed her His devotee.”

Shamik Banerjee

Shamik Banerjee is a poet from India. He resides in Assam with his parents. Some of his recent poems have been published by The Society of Classical Poets, Sparks of Calliope, The Hypertexts, Snakeskin, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Autumn Sky Daily among others.

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