Poems by Alo Shome

Snoopy’s Fluff

a poem by Alo Shome

Snoopy is a Spits.
Akash, the young boy of the family
Is the centre of his life, his master.
Snoopy’s life
Depends on his master’s voice.
When it is gentle, honey-sweet,
Calling him, “Honey”,
Sunlight pours
Liquid gold for Snoopy
And his tail wags in ecstasy.
When it is cross
The heart throbs
As if
It is having a thrombosis.

They used to clip Snoopy’s down
To prevent it from catching fungus.
Now they don’t-
As an expert on Spits
Has cautioned them that
Cutting the over-growth
Causes emotional stress
To these breeds.
Now,
They leave alone his
Fistfuls of feathery flounce,
His candy-floss-light fluffy fur,

His poetry.

Trek

a poem by Alo Shome

We had a picnic one summer in Dalma Hills
Where gentle trees stood like simple men
With feet in Autumn leaves.
We ate puris in paper plates
As we laughed, joked and bantered.

Another time we went to Tholkobad, Saranda.
Bhagat Pandya was at the wheel.
(Bhagat is now dead for over fifteen years. How time flies!)

Sombre path leads up.
Barbets call, crickets flit.
Whiffs of air bring scents of past waterholes.
Days rustle,
Memories flicker into fireflies.

To my Grand Daughter

a poem by Alo Shome

I treasure your first ‘gift’ to me.
And wonder what mechanism
In your little mind
Gave you the intelligence to judge
And recognise
That others needed or wanted
Or cared for certain things-
A being who began as a dot!
Making amazing connections
Through mazes of objects, incidents,
Colour, sound, taste, touch, smell

You also identified
Steps to take for yourself,
And had come to know
That a certain article of
Exquisite and fragile beauty
Should be handed over to its keeper
Not be played around with.

So, you and I were at the
Pilgrimage of a genesis-
The Rishikesh of responsible love.

Gift

a poem by Alo Shome

The unwavering activity went on
Rushing against time
Venom squirting all over an
An intricate mesh around it,
Sharp, diabolic needles
Spearheading a snake into place,
Clicking instructions to each other
In metallic voices.

But the final product,
The sweater I presented to you
Was second grade
Lacking texture and character-
For the venom had dried and
Flaked off, then,
And the serpent had slithered away
Into the omnipresence of Shiva’s headgear
Where it belonged-
Leaving its harmless, papery mould behind
Like the wings of a dead butterfly.

The Anti-Hero

a poem by Alo Shome

I like the eyes of Ashutosh Rana
When he acts as a villain.
The innocence of his intense stare
Touches a deep chord in me
As if I shall hear the pious sound of Om
Rising up any time
Around that gaze.
The eyes declare their stark message
“I exist, I am, I shall be”.
“And therefore” they say,
“My dagger will tear out your guts, you fraud,
Whom I make a hero
To highlight your smallness.”

Hawk in the Rain

a poem by Alo Shome

On a soaking toddy-palm
As thin as a stick
Talons I sharpen and my beaks-
A hawk in the rain
To tear your guts and brain.
Fire flash from my eyes
As if from the skies
To strike you and your house
Amidst the whistling boughs.
Beware my shrill tone
For I turn beings into bone.
I mince mice and men,
I pound pythons and hens.

Only
In this downpour I tire
For the time being retire
To a partly-hooded electric wire
Glistening and great…

And it is too late to hate.

Coronation

a poem by Alo Shome

A string of pearls?
No, no, a modern, independent girl
Won’t feel the need
Of that. And, indeed,
Dear,
It would cost you many a tear!”

“My bone then?”
Was your next stunning question.

“Don’t be mad
And funny, lad!”
And ‘er I could add,
“Take my advice,
Do not make such gruesome sacrifice!”
You played it smart

And had stabbed your heart!

Blood oozed from your body
And trickled in a slow-flowing stream.
It seemed like a dream!
I sighed, “Why, why?”

But you did not die.
For a cactus lives
In its other flowers and thorns
If a part is shorn,
The thorns being its ribs.

Blood-milk dripping from your body,
Looking gaudy, you crowned me
Putting your own parts
Around me!

Glitter of the Grind

a poem by Alo Shome

Umbrella, shopping bags, sari, puddles of water,
Awkward walk in the rain.
The pain compensated, of course,
By the smiles of sabjiwallas
And greetings from their wives and mothers.

The bitter-gourd, the pumpkin, the sprouts, the banana flower,
The chilies, the coriander leaves.

The return journey.
The washing, cutting, cleaning, cooking.

Then poetry on the table
Surrounded by avid eaters!

Oh, the joy of creation!

Just fun

a poem by Alo Shome

Shining gulabjamuns, deep tan
Floating in huge pans.
Pots of misti doi at a corner…
The bride is Calcutta’s Ms Aparna.
Not a Sen, though, but a Chatterjee.
What is the matter, Jee?
Why a high class Bengali marrying a Bihari Lala?
Is there some dal me kala?

Now the purohit has started chanting,
The bride’s over-weight brother arrives panting.
Enters a VIP guest.
Ramu, make haste
And get a chair
There.

By the way, trust,
Absolutely nothing’s wrong in this marriage inter-caste.

Let’s welcome the liberated century twenty first!

Contact

a poem by Alo Shome

I found you misty dawn soft and gentle…

You did not complain that I had left you forty years ago
Among bushes and silk-cotton trees,
Among squirrels and owls,
And a Leghorn who laid its eggs
In a broken down radio set.

It was a misty dawn for our rendezvous, as I said,
And lo! Still flitting among the butterflies I found you!
You looked at me with innocent eyes
But the gong of the clock tower struck deep
And you had to hide again.

At the Beach…

a poem by Alo Shome

Each grain of sand
Is an eye-
Pricked by litter,
Stamped by people’s feet,
Plucked by castle-builders’ spades,
Scorched by the sun,
Pierced by many-legged crabs,
Stoned by boulders.

My eyes, lost in the heap
Look longingly
Towards the ocean
For solutions…

Thought Forms

a poem by Alo Shome

Breeding in a subconscious cauldron
They puff up like puris,
Stirred by the blackness of night.
They rise up like mute babies
Made of smoke.
They stumble, fall, rise, clap, sob.
I huddle them near to my heart-
Where the milk is,
And sleep over them.

In the morning
They are tattooed
All over me.
I try to soap them away
With coffee.

Identity

a poem by Alo Shome

I swish through
The folds of your sari
And cradle the cup
Of your blouse
I touch your naval.
I finger
The arch of your lips
And kiss your smile.
I cling to you
Like taut skin.
I trace
Your eye-brows,
Tousle your hair,
Shine through
The polish of your toe-nails,
Recline
In the wicker
Of your eye-lashes
And freeze
In your bindi.

Now, comes the baffling moment.
The time of reckoning.
The crisis of identity.

Who am I?
Am I only your outline,
As thin
As the surface-tension
Of a dew-drop?