Career

for Nachiketas

T.Wignesan

 

Tether the cow to the post of your patience

and wait

First make ready the field in which you choose to let her loose

There where no lilacs grow

nor lotuses in the pond of your astrological gaze

 

If you haven't enough cut-grass in the loft

Make sure your sickle doesn't rake through touch-me-nots and lallang

 

You may only prepare the pasturing ground

You cannot make your cow browse in it

all her dogged years

her udder bitten

fangs sunk in stealth

milk mixed with venom

milched in terror

suckling in fear

 

 

You may not clear your fields

of

toads

snails

snakes

or centipedes

 

They are the legitimate heirs of the land

where

you plan to graze your cow

You may only tend to her when she comes home

if she comes

by her own will

acknowledging not a master

but an inherited contract

thus

you may milk her but at this appointed hour

with this can

two-spans-full

if you give her fresh grass and barley

before she goes

'cause she is bespoken to patience

 

T.Wignesan 1992

April 18, 1992

[from the collection : back to background material, 1993]