Hill Station: A Romance


a total bandh.

No conveyance to go up;

non-tribals certainly not welcome.

At last an enterprising operator

of a dilapidated cab without windows--

if stoned, we lose nothing but

our heads.  The way up is a slide

into fecund tropical vegetation:

dense thickets, bristling

with gigantic bamboo stems,

luscious plantains, green and golden,

and massive gourds, gaping out of the bushes.

Suddenly, before it is seen or heard,

the rain opens its ravenous mouth

and swallows us.  (For days

a fine mist lingers.)

We arrive in darkness

through streets deserted

and sodden.



sacred forests,

of ancient trees

bearded and sage

with tongues of blood

like the local inhabitants.

Remove nothing from here:

no firewood, fruit, leaf or twig,

nor one flaming orchid,

not a single blade of grass;

any unspoken words must

of course be left behind--

but all the way back,

it continuously rains poems.



at the mountain top

the clouds come home

into the laughing eyes

of a girl from the plains

suddenly unveiled,

her cascading hair

so unconstrained,

dimples like cleft peanuts,

and delicate breasts,

small, peach-coloured,

yet resolute beneath

her flowery bodice...

Instead, just three students

with slender fingers

waving goodbye--

and another, blinding

shower of pain.


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  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape