Earth is brown and rice is green, And air is cold on the face of the soul
Oh grandfather, my grandfather, your dhoti is become a shroud your straight hair a curse in this land where rice no longer fills the belly or the empty placelessness of your soul.
For you cannot remember India. The passage of time has too long been trampled over to bear yout wistful recollections, and you only know the name of the ship they brought you on because your daadi told it to you.
Your sons with their city faces don’t know it at all Don’t want to know it Nor to understand that you cannot cease this communication with the smell of the cow-dung at fore-day morning, or the rustling wail of yellow-green rice or the security of mud between your toes or the sensual pouring of paddy through your fingers.
Oh grandfather, my grandfather, your dhoti is become a shroud. Rice beds no longer call your sons. They are clerks in the city of streets Where life is a weekly paypacket purchasing identity in Tiger Bay, seeking a tomorrow in today’s unreality.
You are too old now to doubt that Hannuman hears you. Yet outside your logie the fluttering cane flaps like a plaintive tabla in the wind.
And when the spaces inside you can no longer be filled by the rank beds of rice, and the lowing morning cannot stir you to rise from your ghoola, The music in your heart will sound a rustling sound, and the bamboos to Hannuman will be a sitar in the wind.