Bloomington, Indiana: Buddhadeva Bose

How quiet this Sunday morning is – the streets deserted, the houses
Asleep behind curtains, rows of unemployed cars. In this country
No one gets out of bed before one o’clock on Sundays; the roads
Lie like canvases with the silence of the trees on either
Side.

But when I went out I heard a tring-tring behind me.
Tring, tring, tring. A few minutes’ gap, and then again.
Again. Again. Wounding the tender body of the wind
The sound rose – piercing, voluble, ardent –
I walked along and, following me, this sound seemed
Unending.

What message was the telephone ringing with – in whose house,
For which hero, which friend, which lover? Was someone in distress
Waiting on the other side? Had someone’s loneliness proved unbearable?
Had death visited someone? Or was it some mute sorrow,
Some unspoken grief that finally wanted to be heard like a
Bugle in this incessant ringing of the telephone bell?

But could no one besides me hear it?
Was I the only one awake on this street? Citizens,
Wake up. Hero, friend, lover, hold out your arms
Awaken, heart. Awaken, agony. Awaken, consciousness. Listen
To the cries, ‘Save me, save me!’ They are for you
Only for you, this announcement – these are those same tears
That keep flowing across the world like an unceasing current
In a secret melody, they materialised for you today, this moment,
Spreading out in one wave after another. Someone wants you.
You are needed – you, the fortunate one.

I don’t know when the sound stopped, don’t know whether someone
Sank into despair, all I know is that the one who calls out
Is vulnerable, the one who expects is helpless – for sometimes
The telephone rings in numbed rooms, some letters never
Reach, and the language of what must be said is inaccessible.

Meanwhile the June sky was bright, the wind once again
Unruffled and healthy, the leaves rose and fell like breath
And the houses were stilled as usual behind curtains of sleep.

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