A narrow room without a number, and a door without your name.
Under a crimson blanket, your knees drawn up, mouth open
And eyes shut, you have anonymously exited from the only game.
The much trampled road, all stops done, ends tamely at your bed.
In wayside lodges where keys hang from nails, old debates on capital
And labour find new voices, the same zero watt bulb coughing blood.
The red ball of thread you brought at birth with you into the maze
Has led you to the great gate, the phlegm in your throat rattling
Like a revolt’s dying gasp, the world blind to your searching gaze.
From your ward, the stairs spiral up into the ether. Lying on a bed
We travel the farthest, our breath fraying like incense in a wake.
With 31 hands, December wields her axe. The year bags another head.
Outside, Xmas revellers predict the past. Again Christ would be born;
The players rise, fall, eddy in and out on time’s endless tide. In the belfry
Of clouds, the sun strikes the iron hour. In how many ways were you torn?
Those quick to judge you — ignorant that all present moment is a fog—
Their now, your far-away future.* The dusk settles in the mist, green, orange
Red. There’s little traffic on this defeated road. You return, ancient as the earth,
To dust. Things continue. Ah, to think how kind you were to man, tree, dog.
C.P. Surendran is poet and journalist
*An activist and filmmaker; he died on Xmas, 2022, poor.
*Milan Kundera, in Testaments Betrayed.