Children of the Sun/Capital Streets

A summer day on the capital streets, sunburnt faces and lemonade vendors,

Cigarettes in the shade, ashes on sweat-soaked shirts,

Dogs thirsty and listless, despondent from the melting heat.

I stand at the intersection, the one at Humayun’s tomb, blue tiles adorning an unfamiliar structure,

mixing with the mellow of my summer disposition,

to compliment and create the most beautiful scene.

 

There is traffic at the light, beggars proliferate,

Children of tattered clothes and bleak existence,

Pray for alms and pine with bleaker eyes,

I sense a darkness in me, of conceit and pity,

I labour to roll down the window, exchanging blessings for loose change,

Are we made from the same marrow, do the children breathe the same air I breathe,

Do they not fear the heat, do they not drink lemonade, do they not prefer the shade?

Pocketing the change, they disappear down the street,

I hope they are not mere kids, I hope they are the children of the sun.

 

Six years hence, another city and a heartbreak and a lifetime later,

I come back to the capital streets, once more in the summer heat.

The trees have moved beside the footpath, the Metro meanders through aerial pathways,

I stop at another light, loose change in my palms ready,

But the children are nowhere to be seen, only pets and their pets,

I wonder what became of them, I wonder where they went.

From the sun they came, to the sun they returned.

Proud yet desolate, like the leaves of greying trees.

 

Another six years, another life, another wistful man,

will stop at another light and see the children begging still.

They will have returned from their sojourn at their solar retreat,

To ask for consideration, to bless us out of the scorching heat.

From sun they will come, to sun they may return,

To light the fire, on befitting the capital streets.

 

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