Kavitayan
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Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh


Mahabalipuram

Man's dream here has a very sharp edge :
the hungry teeth of the dead
mark the flanks of domesticated beasts.
Staggering badly, a thirteen-hundred-year-old wind
passes between a sow's sagging dugs
and the rough fingers of yesterday's sculptors,
straining to sink inside, are tugged
into the spotted feathers of hens, purposelessly alive.
Chameleons slumber at ease in the belly of rubbish
and
slime-covered frogs poke obscene fun at God
who sits exhausted on the steps;
crabs
peeping through a cypress's dry skin
giggle like fish,
and there,
fallen like a raw black rock
on a clump of tender wildflowers,
idle Star
yawns and writhes awake.
 

Translated by the poet and Adil Jussawalla
 







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