The Wheel

By Vinda Karandikar 1918–2010 Vinda Karandikar
Someone is about to come but doesn't. Is about
to turn on the stairs but doesn't.
I button my shirt
come from the laundry with all its dazzling blots,
like one's peculiar fate.
I shut the door, sit quietly.
The fan begins to whirl
and turn the air into a whirlpool of fire,
making a noise bigger than the house.
Someone is about to come and doesn't.
It doesn't matter.
Calmly I lean against the wall,
become a wall.
A wounded bird on my shoulder laughs raucously,
laughs at the shoulder it perches on!

My soul of flesh and blood puts a long thread in the needle's eye.
I stitch a patch on my son's umbrella.
I pick his nose and name the pickings:
I call one "Elephant" and another "Lion."
Someone is about to come and doesn't. Is about
to turn on the stairs and doesn't.
I tickle my children,
they tickle me in turn; I laugh,
with a will; for I do not feel tickled.
It doesn't matter.
I scan their fingers for signs:
Nine conches and one wheel.

Note: "Nine conches and one wheel" are formations of lines on the tips of fingers which, in Indian palmistry, foretell a happy life.

Source: Poetry (September 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2007
 Vinda  Karandikar


Vinda Karandikar was a Marathi poet whose selected poems, The Sacred Heresy (1998), is available in English. A former professor of English at the SIES College, Mumbai, he translated Shakespeare’s King Lear (1974), Aristotle’s Poetics (1978), and Goethe’s Faust, Part 1 (1981) into Marathi. He received India's prestigious Jnanpith Award in 2003. Karandikar died in Mumbai in 2010 at the age of 91.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Relationships, Home Life, Religion, Other Religions, The Spiritual


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