Calcutta Time by JohnGrey

All this beat and rain,

what would you expect.

And not forgetting the pollution.

And the traffic.

Sure, it takes a century of

building this up

but you can fit a century

of pulling it all down

into a grim and dusty year.

Besides, the child shepherds

hustling their goats across the street

and the young lovers

crouched beneath the trees,

gladly step or slouch or sit

upon the bones

of an almost forgotten imperial rule.

No one sheds a tear

for the British decay.

Every marble statue

plastered with bird shit,

is one more street beggar,

hustling rupees

by the stinking brown river.

A man wrapped in dirty muslin

crawls into the hollows

of a crumbling Queen Victoria

for shade, for sleep.

Such a relief.

The dead have it no better

than the living.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Main Street Rag and Spoon River Poetry Review.   


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