All Soul's Day, St. Inez Cemetery

Two Poems
By Manohar Shetty


Dinars

His house stands tall
Over the rest, boundary walls
Orange as the sunset
Topped with jagged glass.
The gates are parrot green.
An SUV purrs in his garage.

At Sunday church the wife
In shimmering pink
Flashes a thick gold ring,
And on her sand dune
Bosom a chunky necklace
To match his.

They kneel in the front pew
With their four kids
In checked suits and rosy
Frocks; their voices
Roar over the choir
Like a sandstorm.


On his 50th birthday
His cake was domed
Like a sheikh’s palace.
The champagne flowed
Like oil and he swore
As their son from the village

And with the blessings
Of his parish priest
To the cause of a new Goa,
To ushering in the winds of change,
To taking power
Back to the people.

All Soul’s Day,
St Inez Cemetery

The souls have moved on,
The bodies still part
Of the ground. The roses
And lilies will fade in
Two sunsets or three.

Over the passing traffic
The washed gravestones
Speak through dimly
In memory of lives spent
Fully or ended sadly, swiftly.

Through the lush grass skinks
Hunt down butterflies.
A crow waits in the wings.
A bee drinks from
The mouth of a hibiscus.

A lone eagle crossing
The skies is whispered
To be a phoenix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Manohar Shetty has published several books of poems, including ‘Domestic Creatures’ (OUP, N. Delhi) and ‘Living Room’ (HarperCollins, N. Delhi). His poems have appeared in a number of literary journals including ‘London Magazine’, ‘Poetry Review’ (London) and ‘Poetry Wales’. In the US his poems have been published in ‘New Letters’, ‘Chelsea’ ‘Shenandoah’, ‘Atlanta Review’, ‘The Baffler’ ‘Fulcrum’ and ‘The Common’. Several anthologies feature his work, notably ‘The Oxford-India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets’ edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and in anthologies edited by Eunice de Souza and Vilas Sarang. He has edited ‘Ferry Crossing: Short Stories from Goa’ (Penguin India) and ‘Goa Travels: Being the Accounts of Travellers from the 16thto the 21st Century’ (Rupa). He lives in Goa with his family.