Poem | Suneet Chopra

Now It’s Time to Move to Action

Photograph: Tilak

Cold wind bites the face and parched earth
below is cracked like eggshells when the
chicks have flown away. In cities
fellow humans huddle under
empty sacks of foodstuff sold at
prices they could not pay, leaving
them to gaze at empty stores that
flash lights for the shoppers forced to
window- shop instead with empty
pockets warming cold hands; but those
who rob banks through loans they won’t pay
make merry in limousines and
night clubs. And I watch them from the
Madras Coffee House where once the
likes of Khushwant Singh and Keshav
Malik drank coffee and wrote books.
Nehru, Lohia, A.k. Gopalan
sat here, jostling hopes and ideals
for an open door for those
left out in the cold still. Now a
juke box plays its thumping music
to an empty room. Nearby
there’s a metro station where the
action is, with people going here
and there, keeping warm for the price of
a ticket, safe under the eye
of a camera that simply
looks at you to give you solace,
but does nothing. Here the
battery chickens wearing glasses
live out force-fed routines , waiting
to be butchered for the market.
No, the next year must be better.
now it’s time to move to action.

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