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Grishma, Barsha

  • Published at 04:33 pm July 15th, 2018
  • Last updated at 04:22 pm July 19th, 2018
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A poem by Kaiser Haq

The azan goes
 round the city
 in a rousing relay.
 
 In the eastern sky
 the grey of an old man’s bottom
 gives way to baby pink
 
 How about a conservatory
 for muezzins?
 
 Badshah Akbar had instructed
 that the dawn azan
 should be delivered
 in Raga Ahir Bhairo—
 it still is in Old Delhi,
 a glorious aubade.
 
 It’s cool, it’s warm, it’s hot:
 it’s summertime.
 The clock seems awry:
 it’s summer time
 for the first time
 here.
        Everything’s late.
 All the frogs in Rajasthan
 married off—
                         and still no rain.
 
 The cattle all scrawny,
 Krishna missing from Vrindavana.
 Radha’s prayer song’s
 a bit hit—
                         and still no rain.
 
 Down in our sultry delta,
 under a leaden sky,
 I toss and turn and slip
 into a sleep of hopelessness.
 
 But the waking up’s
 miraculous—
 the monsoon’s upon us—
 a month late—
 and desperate
 to make up
 for lost time,
 
 wind and water
 playing furioso—
 
 azan soaring
 over rain clouds—
 
 and Krishna’s flute calling
 Radha, Radha, Radha ... 

[Reprinted with permission from 'Published in the Streets of Dhaka,' published by University Press Limited (Enlarged, 2017)]


Kaiser Haq is a renowned poet, essayist and translator. Enlarged editions of his last two books of poetry, Pariah and Other Poems and Published in the Streets of Dhaka were released at DLF 2017.