Poetry at Sangam



SHANGHAI GIRLS by Vijay Nambisan

O Shanghai girls have swinging legs and do not shame to show them;
Where I come from the girls just haven’t had the time to grow them.
They are encased from birth in sheaths of cotton or of nylon,
But here they just go on and on like pylon after pylon.
So proud they stand, so close to hand, how I long to touch –
But errant males in China’s jails do not rejoice too much.

Take 2

If I could be a band upon that thigh, to touch that cheek,
It’s all I’d ask, and just the asking makes me grow so weak.
I am a band – a hussy-band – and have a role to play,
So stand afar and adore all the legs across the way.
We husbands must, till we are dust, admire only the silk
Of household flesh, and never press any of foreign ilk.

Take 3

But Shanghai’s girls have happy hips, and thighs and calves and toesies.
When I go home my memories will all be tinged with roses.
And I will urge the Indian girls to shake off ancient fashions
And stride along the pavements with the most innocent passion.
But then, alas, we Indian men, our hands are sharp and surly,
And errant males from India’s jails are released far too early.