Poetry: Bashabi Fraser

Bashabi Fraser
In our wee garden
For Neil

You call it our prison yard
Where the inmates are released
Once a day to exercise just enough
To let the prison doctor declare
Them fit enough to avoid
Hospitalisation, ready for the next
Round of torture in their cells.

I call it our survival circuit
Which we enter at our pleasure
Stay as long as we will without
Surveillance, caressed by a mild sun
Enveloped by a free wind, soothed
By a swatch of colours alluring birds
Who gift us with unsolicited melodies.

How many Springs have gone by
When we ignored our wee garden
And sought the burn flowing to the lake
Where a walkway took us amidst
A host of gliding swans and ducks?
We were unaware of a feast at home
Served by an undemanding host

Of daffodils, tulips, narcissus,
Hyacinths, lantana and bluebells
A marvellous spring offering.
Today the dunnocks watch us
From our hedge, the blackbirds
Hop across our path, undaunted
And the doves remind us of love. 

Ganapati at St Andrews[1]

Your impish humour is evident in your elephant head
With its indicative size and weight, choosing a tiny rat
As your carrier, to transport you wherever your fancy leads.
So here you are at this sea swept University town, holding court
On the Fife coast, with your sister Lakshmi and brother, Kartik
On either side, surrounded by indigo and scarlet, our patron
Of arts and science. I have seen you awakened from tantric
Moments of meditative stillness, caught in the rhythmic abandon
Of creative dance as the dancing Ganapati. Will you now bless
Our every fresh venture as you rest between the acts, your lotus
Hands holding the world's love and power as Parvati and Shiva's son,
Our remover of all obstacles, our fortune granting scribe, our salvation?

[1] Commissionedby the StAnza Festival to commemorate an Indian glass painting of Ganesh in the University of St Andrews collection.

Bashabi Fraser is Professor Emerita, and a former Professor of English and Creative Writing. She is the co-founder and Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies and Chief Editor of the academic and creative e-journal, Gitanjali and Beyond. Bashabi is also a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Dundee and an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of From the Ganga to the Tay, an epic poem.

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