From Longing to Madness
Two summers gone, the weather turned raw.
They watched the herb orchard;
(Ivy trailing over the wall) vacantly. A heavy frame
Became inert again and absent, though screens
Of poplars seemed agile. The mighty
One would sometimes walk, loaded with
Years of honours; sometimes disappeared in
The profundity of a sidewalk. At times
When they thought of the dead, among the chaos
Of gaudily painted signs, they stained the gloom
With pale tears — (smart of an old wound!).
Sighs of desire, stifled beneath the low ceiling —
In the midst of damp darkness of pale March —
And hubbub of sentences were left
Unfinished after a pause. Sonorous once with the
Rush of the scurrying children, the garden is now
Abandoned under a November sun.
The wet trodden grass which almost looked
Black, is tramped again by a rag picker who used
To search for countless gutters. (Fragrance
Of vanilla bathed in black mist!). Speechless,
Unable to tear herself away, she tries to go
Back down. Who else was there to
See the horizon? — (a stroke of carnal madness).
Farther off, in the realm of grey stones, she prays
Alone; in the medley of vague colors.
Through a dull shine today, a death-like calmness
Hung over all. She had fallen into the mire.
Their gaze this afternoon was lost in
Empty sounds; the sky is now periwinkle blue.
//Shirin Bismillah recently completed her Master's in English Literature from University of Delhi. Currently, she is pursuing a course in Translation Proficiency in English from Jamia University and working with Central Square Foundation as a translator.