“Moon Light English Coaching Center; O Lebal to Standard Lebal”
~ Sign on Kedar Ghat, August 2009
There shall be
as long as every cow sports
ten bicycle bells
and one moo.
This pundit with the Cheddar cheese voice
has scratched his tummy
as long as that dog has dreamt
No board exams here.
The living are coached on dying,
the dead on rebirthing,
the priests on parody.
in an endless semi-final.
is just one thousand years old.
~ Arundhathi Subramaniam
Arundhathi Subramaniam is the author of ten books of poetry and prose, and has been widely anthologised and translated. Her recent poetry collection, ‘When God is a Traveller‘ (2014), won the inaugural Khushwant Singh Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. She has worked as critic, poetry editor and curator for several years.
Editor’s note: ‘Benares’ first appeared in ‘When God is a Traveller’, (HarperCollins India, 2014), and is republished here with kind permission from the poet.