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Volume 15

Fables and Folklore - Fall 2015


Tushar Jain

Written by
Tushar Jain

Tushar Jain is a Delhi-based writer. He was the winner of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, 2012. Subsequently, he won the Poetry with Prakriti Prize, 2013 and won the Raed Leaf India Award, 2014. His first play, ‘Reading Kafka in Verona’, was long-listed for the Hindu Metroplus Playwright Award, 2013. His work as a poet was long-listed for the Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing, 2015. His published work has appeared in various forums; most recently in a favourably received anthology of contemporary Indian poetry, “The Unsettled Winter”.


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Among the Sows


it’s that time of night
when the farmer’s gone to
sleep and the sows, skipping
over the fence or shimmying
out under, belt out onto the
meadow, and scatter, like
peas, on the grassland

the air is prickly with a new
chill, and the wildflowers catch
the moonlight on their backs,
and every now and then, a bee,
slurring, fat with nectar, rises
from a clump of sodden grass,
and grinning, cheeks a burning
red, bumbles in and out the
stalks, dragging its feet home

the sows, meantime,
are almost everywhere you
look – nestling in the grass or the
soft earth by the well, or curled
up under the old sycamore, lulled
to sleep by the wind in the leaves,
to the sound of breezy whispers,
that to the sow were “prince”,
“dungeon”, “castle”, more

the older swine, with
grey whiskers and half-blind
eyes, backs mottled with
liver-spots and lips chapped
in places like moth-eaten quilts,
linger in the field, gaze held
up to the night, waiting

and then, it happens like
clockwork; the sky churns,
groans, turns a melon-seed
black; the clouds bolt, scare
away, like bewildered cattle,
and the constellations, finally,
fall, one after the other,
to the ground, catching
the hilly green, ‘mid
star-shaped toes

soon, Orion struts in the
twilight mist, and Castor and
Pollux charge among the shoots,
one chasing the other with howls
and cries, and at a distance, resting
cross-legged by the barn, among
the sows, Andromeda, cradles one
in her arms, and smiles faintly,
up at the starless sky


Photo by Moz Rauf



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