The Kingdom Of India
The Kingdom of India
India is the kingdom
of a billion tiny efforts.
By wooden cart pushers, and
one-handed ditch carvers.
By rickety pedal cart climbers.
All those who dance with the traffic.
and the beggar with the basket of cobra.
In India little is spent, nothing wasted,
by them who feed all those who eat.
By the ones who coax the wells, and
those who scratch at the dry earth.
In India, even the dogs have their places.
Snarling for what little remains, or lying
out along the roads stretched in sleep.
In India, there is always one more
tiny space which could be filled.
And though the air holds its weight, and
the passing waters weep their pain,
In India these are the holy places,
of all the many gods who keep watch,
over the conversations of men drinking tea.
India is the puttering three-wheeled taxis,
clotting the roundabouts and lanes.
The Indian men who fry Indian things,
Boiling the sacred water and the ghee
in great dented vessels and kettles.
The drivers of groaning buses steering
their travelers through the chaos.
India is the tiny hands of the thief-
children of the monkey-god, Hanuman.
All the lungs breathing of that blue smoke
which curls and lifts out of every crevice.
The bony shoulders of memory
that bear the soft weight of long silk drapes.
The ancient din outside the ancient walls.
India is carried on bicycles stacked
with burlap sacks, thin lengths of wood,
all that is precious, and all collected things.
India it is the gathered pastel women
who reclaim the old bricks, while babies play.
Bald-headed loin-clothed holy men, and
Dirty urchins who hawk ten rupee necklaces.
It is khaki policemen and palace guards, and
the monsoons of uniformed children
who pour from the doors of schools.
India is the old ladies stringing wedding garlands.
The bony-hipped cows grazing the trash
The ten million machines with two wheels and three.
The sunrise always muted by yesterday’s haze.
India is the overflowing trains, set
on endless miles of creaking rails,
conveying all things which must be
gotten from here to somewhere else.
For India must maintain its motions, and
also its rare places of deep stillness, all
the voices chanting mantra praises to the invisible.
And India is the magnificent marble mausoleums
set among dilapidated shelters of the living,
India is the shop window teeming with brass,
and the pastels which color everything.
The crisp bleached linens of the mahogany old men.
And the mother whose babies are born hungering,
India is the bride whose groom arrives dancing.
2013 Daniel Thomas Moran