In the blink of an eye
wingless birds overpower the skies,
beautiful combinations of colors
arise in the thousands of kites
that soar the low heaven.
On this day winter is over and summer has begun.
The sun continues its drift toward the highest throne.
All of India’s men, women, and children stand upon their roofs,
Muslim beside Christian, Hindu beside Sikh,
connecting their minds to the red and white
dragonflies darting in sharp angles above.
Countless numbers of heads look up all day,
praising the sun
for releasing its warmth upon their faces.
Every string is painted with tiny glass shards
so that the paths might cross in playful battle,
cutting the strings and releasing the kites to the wind.
Street children run like wild beasts
to catch the fallen kites and sell them for one rupee.
The innocent pleasure of this festival
spells its name across the faces of rickshaw drivers,
factory workers, and doctors,
each laughs and smiles open-mindedly,
knowing there is no work today or tomorrow.
As the day comes to an end, pollution begins to rise
in clouds of blooming flowers, a dull finishing of red.
The sun slowly drowns into the ocean
in sheets of blue flame.
– Shahid Minapara
This poem is featured in the exhibition This Place Called Poetry.