At Balarampur

Sea of strangeness, sea of beauty,
starry wave of soundless Time,
may the small boat of a poem
cross on your immortal waters
with an evening’s cargo, saving
one pure coinage in its rhyme.

In a dark green mango-garden
masked and quivering, fire-heart gods
dance-fight demons. On the cool grass
sun and moon and stars do battle . . .
such Chau finery is minted
from low houses and poor roads.

And from unrespected Tribals
a Maharajah’s fortune comes –
a rough-sweet ray of singing . . . dance
to light the long room of the evening . . .
nachni and their rasik, joined
in art; and often-awkward homes.

All around the mango-garden
something of more splendid shine
lies unnoticed in the shadows.
All the children of the village
watching, wondering, faces nourished
in a theatre free and fine.

Star of strangeness, star of beauty
of Time’s deepness, this our world,
may a small boat cross the waters
to be ever with you, holding
pure coins of a dark-treed evening . . .
faces round a patch of field.

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