Sleepy Hamlets

hamlet

let us walk, side by side
shoulders touching
your breath against mine

breathing the country air
in this warm sunlight
this fragrant morning so fair

let us see these fields here
trembling, bleeding life
swaying in love so dear

from every rice plants
dancing bright & yellow & gold
a quiver of flesh & blood & chants

look at these huts profound
frowned & scattered around
like bluebells on the ground

see the hills, covered
with blankets of rhododendron,
the scarlet love rediscovered

smell the ale brewing
& laugh & get drunk
in the raspberry air

feel the wind’s caressing hands
of a loving mother
bereft with spring’s commands

hear the koel’s song leading us
to the wide fields
down the narrow paths

let us walk slowly
our bodies like bedtime kids
stuffed with platefuls of corn pudding

these fields smell of dairies
& freshly cooked rotis
sweet with bright blue berries

let us walk past these farmlands
& see the cows grazing on
the lush grass of lowlands

see the gnarled orange-trees display
the sweetness in the crisp air
evident even from a mile away

let us sit here,
beneath the peepal tree
& watch the little girls disappear

to the nearest spring
a mile or more away
down the steep trail

see the old women
milk the cows
& inhale the smell of cowsheds

warm & fresh
like our forgotten dreams
filled with moisture

look at these kids
hurling stones
at the knotted orange-trees

grandma’s smoking &
asking for her morning’s tea
in her coarse, rustic voice

a stately cat, sneaking out
from the backyard
sits beside her

soft caresses, gentle purring
& resolutely puffing
with fat, blackened lips

the men are nowhere
to be seen
where have they gone?

india or the middle east?
or working in the capital
& coming back once a year

to see the chubby bottoms
of their fat babies
crawling on the porch

& their wives, moon-faced,
lanky as autumn branches
& smelling of cowsheds

& dark & distant
their mothers by the hearths
rekindling the dying fire?

such things we always see
when we go around
the hunger of these huddled huts

with dirty gabled roofs
frayed vermilion walls & eaves
with pudgy, swollen vehemence

but, still, tiny & smug
cool & dark
dank as the morning mist

life goes on
smiling somewhere
in these sleepy hamlets

Twitter @bibek_writes

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