TODAY -

A Midnight Beauty

K. Radhakumar *




Fear stalks the streets of Imphal
Placed on lockdown to prevent
The spread like wild fire
Of a pandemic disease.
A dangerous situation it is:
Schoolchildren have not gone to school
Since the days when the earth had rosy cheeks
And there was a feeling of spring in the air.
Time has flown since the outbreak of the disease
And we are now in the autumn of 2020.
Everybody knows it is not water off a duck's back
For they are aware the search for a cure is on;
Until now there is no known cure,
The illness is treated somehow.

A police patrol picks up a rose
Found loitering in the streets
In the dead of night.
A seductive rose
In these trying times
And in the dead of night!
Well, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Picked up she is
And taken to the police station
For questioning and n.a.
The beautiful thing's case comes up
Before the city magistrate
And the next day the rose is behind bars.

The road does not end here.
There is a report
An excellent piece of investigative journalism
Done by a no-nonsense journo
In the most widely circulated city daily.
The sweet rose is not behind bars,
Says the report quoting reliable sources.
The moment the sweet thing is in the station
A powerful voice rings up the officer in charge;
Shortly after midnight, a white car
Comes to the station and drives away with the rose.
You can skip the substantial portion of the report
About the nexus between police and local mafia
And the underhand dealings - that is old hat.
The prized possession is taken back
To the den of prostitutes where it actually belongs
Passing the drinking and gambling dens on the way.
NB The article gives the exact time, the numbers,
letters etc on the number plate.

I keep telling myself
Let us tell the truth, the naked truth
Nothing but the whole truth.
Why should a rose bloom in Autumn
And that too in the dead of night?
The city road is no place for a plant to grow.
The whole thing seems to be
A figment of my imagination
A midautumn night's dream.


* Poem written by K. Radhakumar which was published at The Sangai Express
This poem was webcasted on August 22, 2020.


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