By Maaz Bin Bilal
Deer sit in my bungalow’s yard tonight,
I have become a Ruskin Bond character,
in the verandah as I read and write,
succoured by the jungle and the memory of her.
Constant cicadas, owlets, the noise of birds,
are our accompaniments, day and night,
van-gujjars come in with their herds
of cattle at noon, a lone buck barks, takes fright.
I take a deep breath of the dewed air,
fragrant, muddy, fresh, and light;
my capital friends must beware,
it was Diwali in Delhi last night.
The Englishman, who built this house
in 1889, must think my concerns trite:
the geyser in my room has blown a fuse,
the framed leopard is crooked, must set aright.
The herd of elephants we saw in flight
last night, too, must find our affairs vain;
we take our safaris like headless kites,
when they pick their way, go eat sugarcane
Maaz Bin Bilal is Assistant Professor in literary studies at Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities at O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India. He earned his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, UK, for his dissertation on the politics of friendship in E. M. Forster’s work. Maaz is interested in South-Asian Muslim identity and history, multiculturalism and secularism, Urdu literature with a focus on poetry, translation in practice with a focus on Urdu-Hindi-English, and creative writing. His first collection of poetry, Ghazalnama: Poems from Delhi, Belfast, and Urdu is forthcoming soon.