3 Weeks In: A Poem

Khalil Laltoo - India


September 26, 2018

Dig for the Roots

What is it about this land?
I saw a dragon born of evening clouds
bow its great head
as it lost its way in the pink smoke
of the bat streaked sky
It is what remains of the natural here,
stretches its wings over lands lost to cement
and the well-manicured toy gardens,
the square trees and golf course greens.

Just north of here villages sleep and wake
to an ancient song.
I hear it in rare moments of silence
I feel it coursing in my wild veins
The drums’s lost echo

What are cities but man’s great dream-
one that takes you in the flashing lights that shine through the night
silently promising the new world
Leave behind your wells, your woods, your precious truths
for silver-plated conveniences

The mystics felt it in the westward winds long ago,
They dared not raise their towers in Greece’s shadow
How they would weep if they saw how the rivers run here,
Flithy, staggering back to the solace of the sea.

Today I saw a christ hanging above a door in a dark alley
amidst the joy and pomp and prayer;
Go see the idols in the streets and decide if God still lives in their handiwork,
For I have found truth only in the soft eyes of the people who have not forgotten love.

Khalil Laltoo