Poems by
Srinivasan B

Cold Dinner

a poem by Srinivasan B

What bizarre horrors from culinary crime doth arise,
From o’er done meat to under cook’d rice!
Ere long had I nurs’d a fond hope
To pen a satire, half as well as mocking Pope!

These lines, I now write, to my better-half are due:
To the dining dreaded dining table is the scene ne’er new
When ill-bred palate and insatiate tongue
O’er five star food and friv’lous habits is hung,
No feebler excuse doth one need to arouse
In the self-willed spouse, a lasting grouse!

Vile ingratitude, vanity, heart of stone,
Is thy name husband, or ‘nother name for groan;
To the sights and smells of kitchen strange,
The hissing Prestige on the cooking range
Is unheard melody, but for the ears of Keats;
No shriller whistle was e’er blown at the heats.
What bubbling hopes doth coffee’s vapours waft?
Where smell is vision, and vision smell!
Thin thro’ the rising curls of aroma’s veil

Lift I my head at the reluctant morn;
No more betwixt me and the bed is the loyalty torn,
A hum in the breath and a tune on the lip,
Ne’er was my intellect at the sense’s tip;
So beguiled by the evanascent charm.
Only an arm away from the uproarious harm,
Not rolling thunder on the glass shatt’r’d more
Not suburban EMU on the rails roll’d o’er and o’er;
As when my cup of coffee, saucer, spoon, et al
From my shaking hand had a splashing fall!

Ill fares the day, to hungry ills a prey;
Give me my day’s bread, my Lord, I pray!
I sit at the table, a picture of poise
Resolv’d to bare my lips but to eat sans noise:
‘Tut, tut! What if, the soup is short of a pinch,
Think of the struggle, my son, on Dhandi’s beach,
E’en Spencer’s sauce hath lost its savour,
Dear mother’s hand hath greater flavour!’
‘An ounce of labour is worth a ton of satire’.
Lest one silly remark stoke simm’ring ire!

No gossip or joke on our neighbours will mend,
Nor ready wit, nor idle banter will the strife end.
Oh, ’tis vain to hope she’d return to her
Accustom’d mood, harm done once is for e’er;

What charm did Menaka on the sage ply to lure;
Revers’d are the roles and ’tis vain to cure
The penance of my spouse, ‘tonce a stranger,
The air is strained and I feel her anger;
No gentle tread will follow till the drive’s end,
Nor can I cast one long ling’ring look behind.

Brood and brood and the mood is no good,
When evening comes I drag my feet of wood.
Wher’s the face that launched a thousand ships?
Not at the door frame, or near the rose that creeps;
Since when even the bright Salvia lost its lustre?
Hibiscus grew gloomy, smile gone from the Aster ?
The leaves and the flower, plants and the bower
Are Eve’s best friend and share alike their power.
Home, sweet home, where is the cheer?
‘Coffee is in the thermos, ’tis hot ‘, d’you hear?
‘I’ve a little head ache; so don’t mind the dinner
If ’tis cold, you may eat out’ ; she’s the winner!