Poem of the week: Week Thirty One.

The third poem from Mustansir Dalvi’s poetry collection Brouhahas of Cocks. Also, the second last poem for this month.

choosing trains
 Mustansir Dalvi

It’s those bloody slumwallahs again
my father curses, wet from the rain;
they’re back, throwing rocks at trains
so,so heartless, so totally insane.

I peek out from behind exhaust shaft
at the mob that destroys, burns and laughs;
duck just in time as a spinning half-
bat crashes through our grimy pane. 

The old man rushes to take us in
two sons, one wife, no next of kin
into the backroom store, on its roof of tin
skeletons dance to staccato strains.

I turn the back handle, quick, scurry out
onto rain swept rails, heart thudding, father shouts.
I turn left, then right, and finally, head south
to pick my rocks, to choose my trains.

***

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The Twenty-Third Rule of Love

As long as I knew myself, I would be all right. Whosoever knows himself, knows the one. The moon showered me with its warm glow. A light rain, as delicate as a silk scarf, began to fall on the town. I thanked God for this blessed moment and left myself in His hands. The fragility and brevity of life struck me once again, and I recalled another rule:

“Life is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for a real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.