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  • Simon Howard

CHILDREN OF MANU

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

When I came to India I never looked at it hated it so much despised it shut it out and let India shut me in

Never looked up and saw two kites battling in the sky above Delhi before they tumbled through the air a black orb dying as though the sun turned black were really falling from the sky

I never saw the crippled man who had one leg imprisoned in a ballet dancer’s warmer like Nureyev in profile He strode the town prostrated on a screaming bus

Never saw the night-time corpses who found rest upon the human pavements in the dormitory streets while they slept through murder

I never saw the policemen one Delhi winter morning as they clubbed a crouching beggar in the mist

Never saw the sweeper pleading for his job the chance to go on sweeping dust on dust to feed his family as he wept in public I never felt the soft black shadows of the stripped tree as they draped themselves across the pitiless unstaunched earth

Never heard the baying of the raucous dog as I watched it from behind my bolted window

None of this I knew. I stayed locked inside my room thinking of you...

When at last I ventured out you were with me When I sat on the steps of the mosque among the goats and crippled men the beautiful lunatic protesting the wrongs done her and speaking of Relativity and Einstein

When the sadhus came a trident borne by one When the Sun closed, replaced by moon and neon and the earnest child of five set off down the steps to begin her evening’s labour

Then you wrapped yourself around the madness like a warm and precious shawl You made me see it made me a part of it and made rejected India forever part of me


*****



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