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by Ankur Betageri (October 2017)
Untitled, Ankur Betageri, 2014
It is Evening, the Day’s Work’s not Done
(After Shakespeare’s Sonnet 12)
It is evening, the day’s work’s not done
And time between boredom and distraction has passed
I remember my father’s regrets, and as a correction
Resolve to be ready when death comes unasked.
But my body rebels against my will resolute
And torpor drags me away from my desk and books
My brain weeps for diversion, and desire, the brute
Disrupts day’s order—keeps me on tenterhooks.
And I wonder whether I above exhaustion can rise
And build the Tower of Babel and in it reside
When my Limits all come in tempting disguise
As a labyrinth of connections to ensnare my stride.
I realize then I cannot better than my father be
One breeds only to transfer the dream of possibility.
Like an Indian Soldier After a Weary Chase
(After Amoretti 67)
Like an Indian soldier after a weary chase
Seeing the Kashmiri girl from him escaped away
Sits down to rest in some bombed-out place
With panting dogs bewitched by their prey:
So, after shooting down men and dumping them in hay
When I had tired of my demented lust
The gentle Kashmiri returned the self-same way
At the borewell wanting to quench her thirst.
There spotting me among discarded shells
Fearless she stood, seeking neither to flee nor hide
Till I in hand her yet half trembling held
And with her own goodwill her hands and legs tied.
Strange it was to see a beast so wild
So easily conquered, with her own will assailed.
Ankur Betageri is a poet, short fiction writer and visual artist based in New Delhi. He is the author of The Bliss and Madness of Being Human (poetry, 2013) and Bhog and Other Stories (short fiction, 2010). He teaches English at Bharati College, University of Delhi. His poetry has appeared in Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Mascara Literary Review and London Review of Books.
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