Trespass |

Lost Life

Jaimin Bhavasar

Poems by Rukmini Bhaya Nair

When The Time Comes

Sometimes a potter
Sees imaginary water flow
In imaginary lines
From a broken-bellied pot…

And then he knows
It is the end of day because
The clay in his hands
Is no longer clay but earth…

At that moment the potter
Abandons his wheel
And follows the silver trickle
Until he reaches its source…

Where the turning world has
Stopped turning and there’s
No work left to be done
But to imagine a universe

In which every pot ever made
Is mended and whole
And filled to its brim
With clear running water…

Making Ends Meet

This job is for the women.
To stretch out a thin meal
In a poor country, water’s
Needed to complete the deal.

Added to precious dal, and
Rice, it makes these grow.
It is the stuff her stick-
Fingers knead into dough.

These are the tricks she’s
Learnt, to eke things out.
But when water is scarce
A woman must go without.

That purple gem, madness,
Do you see it coruscating
At her throat? It is worn
By women in queues, waiting

At city water-pumps, pulling
Buckets from mud-filled wells.
And by the woman who has nothing
Left for her child, for herself.

In her, the serpent swallows
Its own tail, endlessly, and
The lovely gold of her laugh
Trickles away, grey, stagnant.

All said and done, a poem
Is water in a woman’s hands.

Bedtime Story

Observe the dreaming tumult
Of children on a summer night

For in that dimly sculpted light
You will spot the corpulent arm
Of a Roman angel poised in flight

His wings lift in a frieze of death

Over a calm field of sheets reveal
In the sleeping angles of a child

The jerky format of a soldier’s wild
Collapse or Pompeii city captured as
It stood in a tremor of fire beguiled

On summer nights this frieze of death.

lostlife_01 lostlife_04 lostlife_03 lostlife_05

Urban Pigeon

Her nest a slum
mired in rusty plastic
ragged twigs, wires
of steely cloth
a universe of rubbish

In this jag of metal
poised on a concrete
ledge of sky
all things lose
their essential nature

Laying her perfect pebbles
round creamy jewels
within an abstract
circlet of grime

Pigeon is not a pigeon here
her gravelly voice
hoarse with memory
recallsgutteral accents
forgotten woods

Blue flap of sky
water’s shirr against
limestone, and tucked
beneath her discoloured
wing, light fluffy heads

the unmixed texture
of a primitive birth
skiey evanescent
where pigeon nests

Dim suburbs collapse
and forests spring
by sudden instinct
sharp as a claw, call it
Love – or what you will

All images from the series
Lost Life
Ahmedabad 2010

lostlife_06 lostlife_07