Treasure Island

Ananta Madhavan


A Suburban Ode from Madras in 1976


(Recalling a suburban Post Office in Madras,600031, now known as Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, India)


Under my black halo in the slant-less sun
I drop the latch upon my father's gate
And set out on a minor postal mission
Some seven minutes off.

The road dies here and is reborn
As customary right of way
Across a ground where houses sprout
In cement gore and grit.

Beneath this tree a munching cow and calf
Have staked a dung-patch cattle shed;
Their lolling eyes unseeingly
Take measure, let me pass

To buffaloes upon a stubbled plot;
Grave of gait, their ashen hide, blond spikes,
Their wicked looking horns
Meaning no harm.

In that sand-pit a mansion is a-building:
Its bare foundations already seem like ruins
That tell of rooms that will be lodged, planned
Walls and bricks too transparent for sin.

Here a house proclaims itself a workshop
For ailing cars immobilised on blocks,
With innards gutted, rust-corroded,
Stripped, grey-coated.

A man unloads a basket from his head;
The lattice top removed, tight hens appear,
Coupled like entrants for a three-legged race,
But pathos-beaked.

In that shade country of the noble neem
A siesta of yellow cycle-rickshaws wait
For school to close and green-white little girls
To go home escorted

By barefoot servant maids who lounge
Under a red-flame mohur, swapping tales
Of tyrannies defied; some ask a passer-by
The wrist-watched time of day.

Metal rhythms amplify; a shuttle smooth
Electric train swings by in anapest,
Incongruously swift. Impudent crows
Flit across my path,

Swooping down from branch to garbage heap.
On pronged benches a tea-stall audience
Imbibes transistor tunes. Biscuits moult
In bottle jars.

Within a tree-blessed compound headquarters
Chetpet Post Office. But how cracked and dry
The fountain that once filigreed this grove
With water joy!

A bungalow of cobweb privacies
Now shut in dim neon for public service -
This long desk on the veranda invites
Correspondence.

I sit and scribble what I have rehearsed,
But that is not my meaning. Images
May calcify the metaphors of mood.
Leaf-shadows flicker.

- - - - -

Submitted: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Edited: Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Topic(s): suburbia

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poet's Notes about The Poem

I was on home leave (in July,1976) when I experienced this ambiance in a residential suburb in old Madras.

Comments about this poem (A Suburban Ode from Madras in 1976 by Ananta Madhavan )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 2 comments »

New Poems

  1. Change The Inevitable, Tony Adah
  2. Love is a Liquid ~~~ vs.57, Mr. Nobody Nothing
  3. Long before my birth (cavatina), Gert Strydom
  4. Let Me Be Her<3, Nautica Moxley
  5. Absalom, Gert Strydom
  6. Freedom Is Calling, Tony Adah
  7. God and Guru, gajanan mishra
  8. Left Naked And Exposed, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  9. Birth day, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  10. TWILIGHT, Meggie Gultiano

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Randall Jarrell

 

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  4. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  6. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  7. Autumn Song, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]