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Today's outside has colour and song
and dirt-roads damp with liquid pink,
and new-budding trees full of laughter:

I have seen it all along,
so pleasant, such laughter and song,
with winter so far away.

Today, each man was a Krishna
to some street-corner-giggling Radha
in charming disarray:

I watched the hours leave,
I watched the air grow warm
before the storm,
and did not grieve.


As the cowdust-hour devoured the light,
our full moon was devoured by the night...
The evening had hummed with women in white
locked in god-rooms in their plight,
hoping to pray
all ill-luck away.

From my terrace, I had watched
the moon slowly crumble to dust:
seeing my face in its mirror
before the glass cracked.
It had flickered,
and then there was nothing but night.


At a school in the USA
children were gunned-down yesterday,
'Columbine again!' the papers say ...

I wondered, did the kids agitate
seeing that flaming gun shooting away,
did they know who to blame
or even wonder why,
or perhaps there had been laughter and song
on that ordinary American schoolday
at that moment when right became wrong...

I watch the hours leave
as humans play:

I watch the air grow warm
before the storm,
and do not grieve.


-- Srimati Lal
March 2005, Kolkata.

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