The City of the Boy

Kaushik Ghosh 1979 (Calcutta)

There’s a city and there was a boy
Old was the city – the city of joy
The old dusty streets and old tram cars
Joyous old people and lively old bars
An unknown flutist playing sad tune
And a lonely old lady would prune
Her plants, listening to John Coltrane.
Home bound people in local train
After the day’s regular battle –
Some still jovial, some rattle
To the astounding and mad crowd
Some hurling abuse – sleazy and loud.

The boy have seen all of it. All!
The high-rises mighty and tall
Hand-pulled rickshaws, slogans and football
Dear friend, the boy have seen it all

Narrow lanes and contrasting flyover
Suggestively dressed women hover
Around punters for the best deal.
A family cooks the day’s only meal
Upon the pavement, under sky.
The city has it all – love, pain, lie
Friendship, bonhomie camaraderie
Durga puja, 14th February
Smuggled goods in dockyard – late night
A sleepy family for early morning flight
Christmas, Eid and yearly book-fairs
“We will never part” – vowing pairs

The boy have seen all of it. All!
All the summer and all the fall
Neon mopped Park street; its evening ball
My dear, the boy have seen it all

Now that the boy is boy no more
City in his heart, but staying offshore
Reminiscing older times and older fights
Those old build ups and those old blights
The girl in school he used to like
New Year ’s Eve, on his best friend’s bike
Jealousy, street fight, big-heart, patch up
Years passed by and the boy grew up
He sailed away to earn his bread
Being away from the city, he’s afraid
If the city remembers him still
A mid-age man, duty and bill

But the boy remembers it all –
Begging children, their hunger call
Happy family, their mid-night brawl
Indeed, the boy have seen it all
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Submitted by k79aushik on May 13, 2021

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:35 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme aabbccxxddee Ffff gghhiiggjjkk Ffff ggxbllmmxxnn ffff
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,704
Words 317
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 12, 4, 12, 4, 12, 4

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