Saturday Poem

—Three poems by Manash Bhattacharjee in rememberance
of Ghalib's 215th birthday (December 27th)

At Ghalib’s Tomb -1

Look how death forges
New ties and
Throws old ones asunder.

Asadullah lies a few yards
From Khusrau
While Bahadur Shah sleeps
In another country.

At Ghalib’s Tomb -2

Your pleas for a poet’s dues went unrequited
Now admirers bribe to enter your tomb.

You drank endless clouds and moonlights
But no one is allowed to toast where you lie.

Your kafir heart swayed between Kaaba and Kaleesa
A disinterested butcher now overlooks your grave.

Children feed liver to the hawks who visit you
Together they pay oblivious tributes to your guts.

You longed to purify existence contemplating the Ganga
Beggars about your tomb sleep careless of flies.

You lit the empire’s dying lamp before a new darkness fell
It hurt you when old virtues were sold to shopkeepers.

Your couplet suddenly wafts like incense through the bazaar
Your heart was always heavier than your eloquence

Your grave is the final irony of your ironies
Your bones erode time and your words breathe the world.

Ghalib & Others

Tagore bled sorrows and named it heart
Your heart spilled into tears you called blood

Mir felt blood from the eyes isn’t tears
You said blood spoke inmost as tears

Mir lost himself upon her and waited to return
You never found the place where you lost her

Dehlvi risked the ruses of hope and named it waiting
You knew waiting was a trick to forget death

Darwish was a peeler awaiting a caress in clouds
You were flames waiting to be extinguished by dawn

Rilke lost her even before he could draw her near
You hid her behind curtains and gave yourself no peace

Khusrau hugged love’s fire by drowning in its waters
You hid the fire in your eyes and trembled like dews

Rumi was liquid glass broken by the beloved’s touch
You were the wine haunted by her infidel ripples