by Sutapa Chaudhuri (January 2016)
It is winter here. The tulips
in the Mughal Gardens stay
nipped by the customary frost:
yet refuse to breathe in cellophane
bouquets. The young shoots
of the sunflower die, rejected
by the frost bitten earth.
The Dal lake, freezes,
a bejeweled landmark—
a thin sheet of ice obliterating
the bustle of the ferrying shikaras;
the trees silent and still with frost,
matching emptiness ricocheting
through the latticed windows
of ornate houseboats moribund
in the still waters. Life hibernates,
waiting again for another season
of slight warmth, playing
hide and seek in the piled up snow—
an innocuous whiteness rests
on the thorns of the hoary rosebushes
and the encrusted apple trees,
like the dollops of smile
from bright eyed honeymooners.
The snowy roads eager for the touch
of gamboling children on the mountain slopes
or to taste the warmth of a kiss stolen
from the embracing lovers strolling
hand in hand on this earthly paradise.
The snow dredgers clear the roads—
neatly cutting away, shearing the skin,
soft and smooth, exposing the dark flesh
for the army patrol and the ire of their
ever voyeuristic rifle eyes.
Sutapa Chaudhuri has two poetry collections — Broken Rhapsodies and Touching Nadir. My Lord, My Well-Beloved is a collection of her translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs.
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