Poems by Hari Krishnan Thambi

Co-passenger

a poem by

Hari Krishnan Thambi

Indebted am I to the
Indian railways;
Its spontaneity; its schedules
Aiming at keeping Indians
Running and rushing fit.

Today on account of a holiday
My chugger chooses to arrive late
In the mess that is boarding a train
I grabbed hold of a single rail,
Of a never-before seen carriage

Moments later the stink informs me
It is a luggage coach
Another unfortunate someone, I see,
Is on an opposite side
Though his having a seat is clear to see
He can’t sit and I stand
The lights blind him
And then go dim
His eyes twinkle, his face is low
And though there are these indications,
What he was for me
Is still a mystery
But what he is now
I can’t explain how
I saw him for the first time
And may be he didn’t see me at all
Bobbing his head to the ringing chime
The clang, the clatter, the shrill call
His eyes had a child like glimmer
On them before and after
Were reflected the scenes he saw
The colorful scenes he watched with awe
Not knowing, may be what was to come
With a tune in his heart
A melody? A hum?
I imagine his watery eyes
Turn stone and glassy
After he ceases to exist
He will be glossy
The green and gold shimmering threads on him,
On his fair; like a piece of moss on a mound of snow
Imbeciles counting one to ten
Gauzy purdahs and wailing children
that the quadruped friend of mine
Across the seat with an unknown rhyme
Was to be on a platter soon
For invokance, worship, curse and boon

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