The bush shirt

 

That was a bush-shirt with big, big flowers
A soft windy silken shirt we wore to school
To others’ envy, with pockets on both sides
That had bulged with flowery spaces and air.
We were hurling fingers in air as if clawing it
Not for any complaint, but just in boy-show.

 
(We had not picked it up in the wayside bush
We were not bush-men of arrows and bow)

 
We had left our long shirt with horn buttons.
We looked like fierce Afghan men in turbans
With moustaches that struck terror in shirts.
Our buttons were two at the top, to our neck.

 
When the bush shirt came our money changed
Our annas went of four to a rupee, to easy paisa
We now ate rice in shining stainless steel plates
And we played in streets seven stones and ball.

 
Our moustaches are silver over frayed collars.   
We now have pounding hearts under our shirts
Weak of memory, but still love the big flowers.

 

 

 

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