The Wrinkles on Grandpa’s Shoulder

The Wrinkles on Grandpa’s Shoulder

1.
The wrinkles on grandpa’s shoulder
Are the contoured hills and valleys seen from above.
Riding royal on the elephant,
Clutching grandpa’s tuft- the king.
His too rode thus upon his grandpa’s shoulder,
Like me,
A few secrets hidden in the pocket of the shorts
Clutching grandpa’s tuft- riding
The howdah on the elephant
My great grandfather’s ride upon his grandpa’s shoulder
Too was similar, in the woods, like mine
Clutching grandpa’s tuft- riding
Elephant back

2.
It is the same forest seen every day,
The favorite path,
Won thanks to the forest’s benevolence,
Becomes the daily route, the track of truth
As the matted tuft of a sage here,
As the unruly parting on the crown of flora there,
The smooth vermillion path,
The spoor of sloughed snake skin,
The track of tiger’s pug mark,
The route of birds’ warble.
The feet learns by itself all the turns and twists
As light here, and shadow there
Carrying over hills, endearing,
It too getting worn with the treading feet
In solitude roaming everywhere,
Sure of turning home, though at first
Confused, yet becoming the haven, amidst
A stunted and obscure bush is the easing path,
The wood’s secret of the womb where fear hides
The trodden path of the affable eternity.

3.
There is a mango tree there,
Of esoteric taste, of distinct essence
From which drops a fruit, fragrant,
After the squirrel, the bird and the monkey eat their fill,
Whatever is left by fortune has been mine.
The sweet fruit with a sour seed,
A fruit fragrant like camphor,
A fruit that slips entirely from fist to mouth,
A fruit that even now brings water to a fervid mouth
A fruit that had been sucked much.

4.
These are the memories-
The wrinkles on
My shoulder that wish to carry.

(1989)
U. R. Ananthamurthy

:: ADVERTISEMENTS ::
Share: