The Poet’s Tale
By Fiza Pathan
Seated alone at my study table
I pen some poems to sell at the marketplace.
I need money to eat and a shawl
to cover myself from the cold breeze.
So in my shanty made of tin, I write
and ink my feelings in the form of verse.
Last night I slept hungry-I don’t want to lie down
on an empty stomach tonight.
A leper sits with me at my post-begging
for a stale piece of unleavened bread for his dinner.
He is a philosopher who was
at one point of time a Professor of Logic.
As I sit down next to the leper, I try to comprehend
his denunciations about the era of the elite-
dog eats dog policy-man eats man policy.
Many beggar boys cross my path in their rags
begging for a coin or a rupee to feed their ailing alcoholic fathers.
I play with them and hug them to my chest-
in my case motherhood was born from the stench of poverty.
A dog called Jabra sleeps by my side as I sell my poems.
When I share my bread with him-he wags his tail with glee-
the best form of love walks on four legs in a furry coat.
I try to sell my poems all day and hear the old leper out.
Mercy has run away with the rise of globalization-
we the downtrodden have been left behind in the race.
The beggar boys sleep near the dustbins innocently under the stars.
The leper takes me home to his camp for the night-hospitality among the damned.
I drink some spoilt milk offered to me and wash the wounds on the leper’s skin.
We both then read aloud my poems of woe
till the night grows colder and sleep comes as a welcome guest.
Copyright © 2014 by Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: Google images