Bangalore 2002

[after Boris Pasternak]


Wonderful that road to the open

horizon wide as the sea

importunate beggars traffic snarls

mosquitoes floating by


skyscrapers line up with clouds

fade to black like a volcano

the street has grown damp

you sway drift stub your toe


the crowd choppy like waves

James Dean punks jostle us

you sway drift stub your toe

wonderful to walk the streets like this


isn’t that our mall in the distance?

how can you tell? isn’t that the theatre?

getting there yes found it at last

crowds and people and drama all here


and the Milky Way slants towards Chennai

like a cow-wallow and if you look

behind the mall it will astonish you

lying bare naked in the dark


Meera is fluent in English

loves Wodehouse and Wilde

raised a theosophist

proud and dignified


the youngsters jostle her

and she stops and withers them

with a look all India

in her tiny grandeur then


and up we go treading

on the universe

when did the stars descend

midnight sink through the mirror glass?


let the city arbitrate

and night judge between us

when did the mosquitoes stop whining

cars brushing off the beggars?


close your eyes you’ll go blind

in the beginning we fell

Meera is blazing in the darkness

like a parachute terrible beautiful


Jack Ross


Dear Paula,
I thought you might like this translation / adaptation from Pasternak – he got lost on the steppe, but I got lost in India instead …

Lots of love, jack


2 comments on “Bangalore 2002

  1. Finishing reading my birthday shelf poems on Poetry day with this adorable poem from Jack Ross. Love the ending and love the comment about losing yourself. A concatenation of losing oneself. Ha! This sparks me to read and write poems. There is a honey fluency here in the pile up of detail that is so infectious. I have been so moved by this gift. And that it carried me all the way to Poetry Day. Thank you!


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