Armed from head to toe,
the two warriors are arraigned against each other.
Some anger enlarges
the dimensions of their narrow necks.
Battle drums announce
a face-to-face contest.
Hunting for insects has ceased.
Seeking refuge from hungry cats and hungrier men
has also ceased.
As battle cries rend the air
and carnage is due to commence,
the villagers leave behind their long history of cowardice,
and gather here.
The warriors do not know
what this war is about,
or who is whose enemy.
They do not comprehend
the clamour that rushes on this dumb village
like a bellowing sea.
The weapons they wear
strain their nerves.
And, suddenly, their blood is on fire,
feathers almost fly off their flesh,
and each cell of the body overflows with hatred.
The war is only a moment away,
and, when it arrives,
to kill to be killed will be all the same.
on a sky smeared with blood.
It's all over
in a moment.
Darkness erases all
the day's colours, the day's blood.
A day ends.
Carrying a handful of meat
that has lost its voice
the crowd returns.
The village is once again enclosed
breathing like an abandoned child.
THE RUINED TEMPLE
On the mythic enchantress's open navel fall
the stars and the dew all through the night, silently.
On the steps of the temple's pond,
on the large shoulders of the wise Ganesa
are washed the greasy patchwork garments
of tradition and history.
Like the blind whimsical gods, or sometimes
like a sudden rush of wind, two or four bats
fly out from inside the dark along
the sharp lines of an indifferent sky
towards an uncertain tomorrow.
The long, unending afternoon comes to an end.
From some faraway place comes creaking
the sound of the bullock-cart's wheels.
It seems as though in a moment
time would stop
over the distant untilled fields,
in the evening's lonely darkness.
Who calls whom
so affectionately, full of desire and grief, greedily
(in this life, in the other life) ?
The smile on the water's broad and shining face,
like the gesture of a sudden wish, pulls
the temple's shadow and the rising moon
The long day ends, waiting.
The leprous beggar-woman begins to think
if only some poor helpless worshipper should arrive
before she left the place
with her day's last weary yawn.