Second poem (of the month of May) from Vikram Seth’s poetry book Mappings.
Home Thoughts from the Bay
– Vikram Seth
Down Highway 101 the van
Hurtles with all the speed it can
And all the passengers but one
Have jolted off to sleep. The sun
Strikes long apocalyptic lines
Of corrugated sheds, the tines
of Sutro Tower, billboards, wires,
The airport, scrap, discarded tires:
And I who must commute each day
Along the grimy-margined Bay
Dizzied by each high-octane breath
And tired of work and bored to death
And sick of home decide I ought
To check that surrogate for thought,
The Highway I-Ching – which today
States “Yield”. “Keep right”. “Go Back. Wrong Way”.
Should I fly home? Why am I here?
And yield to what? To whim? Fate? Fear?
Keep right… my eyes obey and there
Pursue a jumbo-jet to where
This afternoon high in the sky
A half moon loiters absently by,
Incognizant of why or what
Or where it ought to be or not.