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  • Last Update : 01:22 am

Grishma, Barsha

  • Published at 04:33 pm July 15th, 2018
  • Last updated at 04:22 pm July 19th, 2018

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
        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
 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.