Culture

Poetry Corner

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, as such I have chosen a poem by Indian poet Malathi Maithri

lonely

Image through Pexels

MENTAL ILLNESS: BEFORE AND AFTER

Stray cattle on the streets
Chewing on used tampons
Empty cans of Coke
At the gutter’s edge

This house is a stockade for the powerless
This afternoon, it is raining hot cinders
On the streets from which all dogs have vanished,
Coke cans are running about in play

The noise persists
All through the day
When evening blooms
With the yellow of emptiness,
Alongside the rustle of human beasts
Returning home as usual,
Television boxes, too,
Commence their blaring

Mechanical birds raining bullets
Tanks striding like iron beasts
Bodies scattered like coconut splinters
Buildings razed to the ground
Wails of maimed children
A typical late evening, spewed out
By television sets in every home

I lie in bed, wrapped
In terror’s black quilt
After midnight, one by one,
The empty cans have begun
To lay siege to the street
The infernal sound
Of earth being crushed
Grows louder by the passing hour
A great din rises
As giant Coke cans
Advance towards me,
Razing the walls in
Between to the ground

I am unable to expel
These iron beasts,
Crawling all night
Inside my skull

I pluck out and fling
My hairs, one by one

When dawn breaks,
Who will rescue the sun,
Mired in this bog of dead meat?

By Malathi Maithri
2007

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