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  • The Earthquake, and: Listening through the Rain
  • Bibhu Padhi (bio)

The Earthquake

The morning it arrived,we looked at our costly watchesand wondered at the rare miscalculationof the town’s efficient astrologer.

We traced its humble originto acts of murder committeda long time ago.

We said, “There’re stillother worlds, other spaces,where human beings can findsufficient room for all the many sinsof the body and the souls.”

We felt the subtle vibrationof God’s anger at ourpoor little doorsteps.

In a fit of human rage, we promisedto build houses that’ll keep their coolduring unsympathetic weather.

We came out of our homesand saw the planets giving birthto other, larger planets.We said, “After this invasion of faith,mankind shall learn to stand [End Page 31]

erect and upright again;once again God shall ascendour badly lit altarsand allow us to pray.

That evening, while we were tryingto gather up our shattered faith,we saw the stars and the moon in tears.We sat down and prayed.

Listening through the Rain

It is raining in Cuttack once again.The rain that arrives so gentlythat it can scarcely be heardthrough my son’s dream songs,the harsh sound of motor carscrowding the foul road. Once,on one such afternoon in July,your limp voice drifted into my roomthrough the rain. Todaythe rains are once again here,and I can almost rememberyour wet voicethrough my son’s loud singing,through the humming soundof motor cars crowding the roadand, beyond all this,through the damp soundof a faraway afternoon rainin the July of one distant, echoing year. [End Page 32]

Bibhu Padhi

Bibhu Padhi ’s eleventh book of poems, Sea Dreams, appeared earlier this year. His poems have appeared in distinguished magazines throughout the English-speaking world. He lives with his family in Bhubaneshwar, India.



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