running up and down the old banyan tree;
far away, behind the temple
drummers beat a tattoo to signal
the coming worship of Durga and Navaratri.
The wind’s a shade more poignant
the light takes a different slant
the grasses wear white feathers in their caps
in the sky the first migrant
cranes fly in from some distant
lands with their unerring route-maps.
in rhythmic fall and rise
harvest the kharif crops in the fields
the sheaves and bales are tied
and stacked up on the side
and the farmer comes to measure up the yields.
hangs a pall over the city and the slum.
Young girls’ dupattas evoke
the colours of dried leaf stalks
the fiesta of detachment that is autumn.
And then one moonless night
the golden flicker of lamplight
throws soft shadows on courtyards and doorsills
fireworks burn bright
and pop to children’s delight
over the banyans, around the sacred basils.
far away from my land, somewhat homesick,
but the images remain clear
the whole sharp atmosphere
the fun and the pain both sweetly nostalgic.
Linked to Poetics@dVerse
, where the poems are about the coming of autumn