Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Friday, May 30, 2003  

...Yet, when dry winds rattle
the flags whose bamboo lances bend
to Hanuman, when, like chattel
folded in a cloth knot, the debased
brasses are tremblingly placed
on flaking temple lintels,
when the god stamps his bells
and smoke writhes its blue arms
for your lost India,

the old men, threshing rice,
rheum-eyed, paused,
their brown gaze flecked with chaff,
their loss chafed by the raw
whine of the cinema-van calling the countryside
to its own dark devotions,
summoning the drowned from oceans
of deep cane. The hymn
to Mother India whores its lie.
Your memory walks by its soft-spoken
path, as flickering, broken
Saturday jerks past like a cheap film.

- From "Exile" by Derek Walcott, taken from The Gulf And Other Poems (1969). Today marks the 158th anniversary of the first arrival of Indians to Trinidad.

posted by Jonathan | 1:36 PM 0 comments


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