Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"In Bhopal"     [ghazal]

What it means   to be an American
                        will I discover   in Bhopal?
the music   that time didn't quite forget
                        can I recover   in Bhopal?

on this rainy October morning my DC cabdriver
                          chats in Amharak
sargam pearled   out from the Sanskritic tongue
                        may I uncover   in Bhopal

it's not that   I'm generally depressive but
                    a malaise with autumn pulls in
I'll be to   spring's dark and to winter's light
                        a cheerful lover   in Bhopal

the Earth is   the same and yet different in every quarter
                            of the green globe
she presum-   ably sees the selfsame stars
                        pinioned above her   in Bhopal

Ardeo's   life wasn't an accident   but can he yet
                          reclaim the disaster?
this riddle's   so-intransigent answer   he
                        hopes to discover   in Bhopal


chats in Amharak: i.e., on his cellphone (of course); there are myriad Ethiopean cabdrivers in this city; I don't however speak Amharak.
(The poem concerns a contemplated move to a music school in the middle of India.)

initial draft jotted (while en route to office) in blank pages at end of a paperback poetry book at hand -- Agha Shahid Ali's Rooms Are Never Finished (2002)


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