Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Death At Sea

The sandy delta, as always, was overrun by urchins
Even before the water set in to wash out their foot prints
It is the children across the beach who laid claim to it first
Ahead of the predictable and often tardy tide
But now with the water ankle deep and rising
The little ones with perked up ears caught sounds
Threatening them to cross the bar now or else
Words screeched at a frequency even clogged ears hear

It was a noisy and raging night at sea
The roar of angered waves dominated the din
And the blistering slash of briny water stung mercilessly
At hands, arms, a thumping chest and reddened cheeks
He did not hear the chanted prayers from a seaside hut
Nor the muffled cries of wife and children huddled
In his mind he heard a remembered warning at shore
Wife beseeching for him not to sail an ominous sea

It was as if he was reborn upon waking from a reverie
He floated in the stillness of a pacified but listless stream
Sea gulls flew overhead shrieking for edible flotsam
Now he was one with derelicts cast out by an enraged storm
A cruel sun shone mercilessly with searing ferocity
He could hear faint sounds carried by the easterly
Was it children’s laughter or a mournful dirge?
He doubled up into a fetal crouch to get back into his dream
The cold water slapping his sides made him aware of his demise


The scarecrow with fluttering hands
Thought he scared away the blackbirds
Cawing in feigned terror, they dart about mockingly
The tattered suit, the dotted grin
Remained as timeless as the stacks of grain
From the paddies marking time by shadows

He only moves by wind, the only one
Trusted by heaven to be its witness
As the silent monitor of the passing of time
And all the human bumblings and errors
Lost to the pecking of ravens and rice birds

Ah, forlorn monument in the paddies
Who placed you there is the real fool
You cannot even scare away the tiny mice
Frolicking about your ragged hem.
Are you the stalwart sentinel designate
Who has concern over all?

Leave Me, Muse

Hey Muse, Get off my back!
Leave me alone now that I have reached my door
I have escaped your relentless pursuit abroad
Pestering me with your endless lays and lies
In the solitude of unfamiliar towns and climes

Why could I not lose you in winding streets?
Not outrun you in wide avenues in traffic?
You are a persistent hound with a flawless nose
Seeking me out in thick heaths and endless marshes
Always at arm’s length away from your clutch

Must you talk to me of love and heroic deeds?
Inspire me with quests I know I could not attain?
Oh, what a wretch am I to even dare think
Of glories and fame unattained by anyone mortal
Leave me be Muse, sing your song to someone else


I flaunted faded glories in the still air
Like the banderitas of last year’s fiesta
The leaves of the big acacia tree by the wayside
Also waited for a cue from passing breezes

There is no slamming of front doors
And window shutters on the second floor
Are slightly ajar as if the slats had eyes
Peering expectantly at a desolate street

But the wind hung like heavy drapes
Despite the whistling of an urchin
The dust remains settled on the ground
Only the shimmer of the heat is seen

Even mangy dogs did not patrol
The narrow lanes of the interior commune
Cats did not move from window perches
A girl stares blankly at the stillness of life