Poetry at Sangam



DELHI by Gulam Mohammed Sheikh

(Translated by Mala Marwah and the author.)

Over the fort like a broken loaf
sunshine sharp like radishes.
Grass and stones nestling in the ruins
of Tughlaqabad.

Shadows within arches: arches shadowed: Khirki Masjid.
Steps in rows fleeting through the eyes like a needle
at Jama Masjid.
The Qutb erect, stretching from root to throat.
Smells all around,
of food, flesh, blood, prisons and palaces,
yesterday’s centuries.
Breath caught and fixed to this moment,
the eye alive, wheeling through the past
enters the cracks in Ghalib’s tomb
seeking Khankhanan’s fossilized bones,
wanders from tomb to tomb
with the restless fate of Jahan Ara.

Still, dust and mist
still, nothing separates flesh and stone.

A sunbeam
slipping through the vagina of a dove
asleep on the western arches of the Red Fort
pierces my eye.
Still, dawn.
Dreams mate with reality
what will be the face of morning?