My Kind of Pride
I am still on my feet, and this is my kind of pride
My head reels, earth under me receding.
Nothing visible excepting blank graveyard
For the time being, and yet I am
Standing, facing strong wind.
A rumour spreads from all directions
Like an urgent weather forecast;
You are vegetating, man, you[ve no friends left,
You're very lonely, you've ice in your bosom.
Bailiffs with auction notices come from everywhere
To force me out, quickly they
Would seize all my dream-possessions
Movable and immovable
An auctioneer calls out sharply,
But I, a persecuted peasant
Am still there on house-top
clinging to my home, swept by floodwater
Against me, happiness is busy sticking bills on walls
Against me, hope is busy circulating leaflets
in lanes and bylanes
Against me, peace is busy staging strikes
Within me, decay has scattered my bones, and raised
Black banners skull-embossed
So many corpses of defeat my father has borne
Through life, so much has he wandered after
The magic deer of deception, he was marked
For suicide, and yet he looked
A horseman who's unseated but clings
To the horse's mane, doggedly, with clenched teeth.
So much has my mother borne, so many
Antique quilts of ragged dreams has she sown, apart,
Seen so many red horses in all streets
So often, in sleep and in waking hours,
Has been shaken by earthquakes, some headaches
Have naturally been her lot. But insanity
Though a close neighbour, failed
to dislodge her by a hair's breadth
From the luminous couch of her natural self
So perhaps in crises my own nerves and tendons are
Resonant with horse-hooves. Whithersoever
I motion to go, never can I
Reach my goal, I am the adventurer
Whose footmarks the desert bears,
Whose stricken indifferent bones lie
On desert sands, close to an oasis, for a while.
I do not know how it all happens—
Now in streams of blood, now in full-flooded
My heart is washed away, my hands reach out
Only to find the land sliding
My stretched hands disappear in a bottomless pit.
And I myself, as if sitting
On the broad back of a mythical beast, alone
Molten lava streaming all around, earth-shaking—
This cataclysm has not put me to flight,
On my own plot of land, defiant
I've stood my ground, and this is
My kind of pride.