Rudra Kinshuk

1971, Bolpur, West Bengal, India

Portrait of a Dog As Buddha 1998

Portrait of a Dog as Buddha

and you, Kastanka, are just a misunderstanding.
Compared to a human being you’re no more than what
a carpenter is a joiner.
Luka Alexandrich in Kastanka, Anton Chekov.


A chilly winter night,
a schizophrenic shower of rains.
And born on the pavement,
the labour room, you were exposed
to light and alcoholic darkness.
The bent-down branches of tall tress
looked odd iron works
of a crumbling building.

Flowers fell thick on earth,
the wind heavy
with the smell of wet earth, drenched flowers
and of your slippery body.
You are not a dog moving to Mahaprasthana
but Kastanka, my little Kastanka,
born to starve and strive
and to peep into human bioscope.


Your mum died from
a wild beating by the villagers.
You too were often
beaten by the freaky village boys,
as horses by whips of whims.
You had to wage a fierce battle
with other pups
in the drain near the hotel.
A crumb of bread costs a day’s battle.

And one day you barked at the stars,
a winged invitation of the earth
to the distant blue.


A month of November,
the bitches grew as seductive as full rivers.
A spell of lunacy, a tumultuous cataract.
You ran after a bitch of your age.
Suddenly you heard
a faint cry of a human child from a dustbin.
Anger ran through your spine.
How many times were you beaten almost to death
for a piece of bread, for a piece of mutton
by those foeticides
who put on shadows smartly
and follow them all through life?
Pavlov knew that your tongue watered
for a feast with flesh of a human child.
But soon you woke up to a new awakening:
a child’s identity is
it’s a child, a piece of sky.

You drew near
and gave a bark of assurance and endearment.
But the weeping continued.
You couldn’t find out
how to console the weeping babe...
Who’ll rock the cradle? No hands...

My dear dog, you were born on the pavement.
No man gave a little shelter,
a little staff of burnt bread
to your mum
who writhed in severe labour pain.
Yet how did you learn this bodhitva,
the highest truth of life
a child is a child,
a spark of fire, a wisp of fragrance?
Kastanka, you were a wonder
to this land of scriptures.
Only Luka Alexandrich knew.


At the very moment the pearl of bread
dropped on the floor
you with the swiftness of a leopard
picked it up and fled.
Men young and old ran after you
with sticks and iron bars.
People who could not fly
beyond the gold-embossed circle
due to the gravitational force
shouted encouragement
from the doorsteps.
Death was impending.
You were running like lightning
from death to life.
You were about to reach the horizon,
the opening of a new beginning.


Dear dog, you were beaten up,
and thrown in a roadside-ditch
before the break of dawn
for you had played a river and diver
in open daylight with a bitch.
Man devotes his entire life
to master the art of concealing
the craft of masking.
Light never blooms to the fullest.
The touchy oriole sleeps in starvation.
Dear dog, why didn’t you
read Freud and Foucault?


Like a frozen surprise
you are lying
with legs raised towards the sky
defying the amorous call of the moon.
Violence begets violence,
its periphery widens more and more.
And rivers dry up in our souls.

Now it is darkness,
you are nowhere to bark at the stars.
The slim-waist cat
is dancing merrily with the scar-faced moon
on the mossy roof of night.

Who’ll save the weeping babe?

A Cat and a Jester

an old cat always travels
in the pocket of a jester’s colorful shirt
which he puts on
while on the stage,
revolving with in the audience.
An episode ends
and the cat offers a new mask
to the jester
and also new encouragement

In front of the mirror
in the greenroom
they stand face to face
and they discover each other.

A Cat and a Kaleidoscope

a cat looks through a magic hole
of a kaleidoscope.
Moving pictures arrest his soul,
moving colours arrest his eyes.
He forgets his enemies
to be ridiculous.
He forgets that the sun sets
behind the silhouette of trees.

He lies asleep beside
the kaleidoscope, as if
he himself such a one.

The Cat on the Roof

The cat on the roof, half crumbled
dances with the moon light.
The miracle-lotion seller,
while passing by
looks at the happy pictures
of conjugal life.
And he thinks and dreams
of a glass of water
on a small dining table
where he can put his bag for rest.
And days passsed thus.
But one day, the carcus
of the cat is found floating
in the canal near by.
Now only the cat’s shadow
moves over the roof.

The Cat and a Sword

The sword moves
and a cat comes
out of a kaleidoscope.
I found a shadow
licking up shadows
from our daily face.

The Cat and a Human Shadow

A cat feeds on a human shadow,
but can’t finish it ever.
And every day the man
breeds a new shadow of his own
and the cat finds a new dish to feed on.
Once the man realises
that the cat lives on his shadow.
So, he kills his shadow.
Now is there the only cat?
Is there the man himself?


Interminable shower of rains
out side the window.
Our souls are unprotected rivers.
A wind thuds on the terrified door.
A pattering sound of feet of an alien ghost
walks on the balcony of bougainvilleas.
Our sons desecrate the innocent bathrooms
like sick animals,
chained and half-fed in the zoological garden.
Our daughters are smart and flaunt foeticides.

I walk in rains, a river of lullabies.
I bleed like a wounded tree.


You’ve gone to market.
I shiver
for darkness
freezes on our town.
Even the bitches
are not safe
in this land.

Thoughts of a Dog
a beheaded corpse
floating in the indifferent river
fragrance fills the air
i will bark away the competitive crows
and feast on the rotten flesh
i will climb down the slippery stairs
from the bank to the river-bed
unlike men climbing up swiftly the stairs
leading to the aromatic chambers of spring

the river is my mother
to make me fed on human flesh
a good harvest time for me
I grow gradually
fleshy, somber and spiritual
but strange to think why
all the corpses are beheaded...


To sleep means to walk over
cacti, fed on my sister’s flesh
and growing up rapidly.
No men can sleep long today
for ghosts and goblins lure them
to a cave where jackals and foxen howl.
And the magical cave licks up flows of rivers.

Where’s my bird with a long tail?
Where’s my lullaby-singing Grandma?

A black cat tiptoes into my body
and eats up the marrow of my bones.
A very terrified dream:
Blinded lionesses are raped
by sick monkeys in the circus houses.

I can’t sleep long,
can’t walk over the bed of skulls.

The Wounded Duck

The wild duck
was winging
in the unbriddled
sky of Autumn.
A prince wounded it.
It was his whim.
The bird,
blood oozing from its breasts.
fell on the lap of another prince.
They quarrelled long.
Both wanted to possess it.
To resolve the dispute, they came to the king.
The rest of the story?
All of you know.

The king took hold of the bird,
and exiled both of the princes
from his kingdom for years.
For he was very fond of birds
specially of their soft chicken.

To a Young Buffalo

Baby-buffalo, don’t drink from the river
for man has poisoned its flow with DDT.
urinate on me to wash off my memories
that my brimming dreams
have been licked with venomous tongues
by my wooden dolls with whom I recited
Jack and Jill in the village primary.

A writhing embryo
on a piece of stone,
a writhing sun.
Baby-buffalo, be proud of your mum
who will never leave you in a dustbin
for she has not read Freud and Foucault
and does not look sombre
in Derridean seminar..

Baby-buffalo, be proud of your birth.
Sick oxen and imballanced giraffes
now father human civilisation.

Snail Knowledge

A snail knows how to sleep
under the ribs of a river.
A winter of hibernation.
A scarecrow whispers
unknown terror.

A madcap bleeds
like an aged woman
having a miscarriage.

A Song of Eternity

A moment
is a seed
where eternity lurks.
Whenever you take
me in your embrace,
the hands of Chronometer crumbles.
I step
out of time.
Eternity is
no collective seas
but a moment that goes beyond
the territory of time,
and enters our personal space of colours,
our own Greenwich...

In a Bakery

A buring hearth,
an elastic dough of flour
in the breath of fire.
A fragrant sword or siren.

Observations of a Young Dog

‘G’ for giraffe, sick and weak
and ‘O’for ox, bulky but brisk.

Now the roof is moonlit.
And the giraffe and the ox
walking up from
soiled pages of books
are now playing smartly
with our daughters
with adolescent looks.

Merry, merry, the roof and the tree.
Merry, merry we are free
to play with oxen
to play with foxen.
Take my soul but not my match boxes.

Jack and Jill went up to the hill
to fetch proxy shadows
and wooden horses.
Words catch fire over the borders,
and barrel lands.

Sadma weeps, Saraswati weeps.
The Jhelum turns to be the Daya.

Hands that could be a roof,
look sharply hooked.
Even today, Selucas!


Will I go to you, the green bush of guavas
to hide my memories?
Grandma’s lullabies and the shirt
that I put on my first day
at the village primary.
You know the art of concealing very well
for you help them her to lose
their innocence to the sickly donkeys.

Passer-by! Don’t walk like a blind one.
You will stumble on newborn babes.
Don’t weep, tears cannot make stones fertile.
Be a pomegranate tree and bleed silently
to see all dreams dancing with an ox.


Like the feverish monkey in the Alipore Zoo
you have learned nothing but to mock and masturbate
and to spit on god
with a gold Flake between your lips.


In the park, flowers hang like skulls.
Twigs smack of human blood.
Where will you go to?
The toweling cotton tree
has trap in its hands.
Who is that,

going to the roof silently
with a candle, its green flame?

Musings on Horses

... à bout de lance parmy nous
ce crâne de cheval!
___ Anabase, St. John Perse
Horses gallop over
the barricated turf
The sickly men
resting on the iron railings
look at the flying hooves
and think
of a fathomless pit
where from ghosts
with swinging whips
emerge out and laugh
at human cruelty
and human masks...

The peripheral horse-dolls
move from fire to palms
and look
at the plastic civilization
which rains cannot drench.
After earthquake
they settle peacefully.
Only the birds on their backs
weep silently when they
found plastic dolls
invading human dreams.
The motor-cars whiz past.
The old horse, while grazing
look at the habitual pendulum.
Memory burns,
whipping pleasure on backs.
He shoots his hindlegs
and blows the stone wall.
He discovers himself,
dreaming on and on.
The margin of oblivion...
My horse breaks
the wall down
all on a sudden.
And the dreamy birds
enter the bioscope of childhood.
Through the cleft of fragrance
the rivers flow; the toytrains move
in the eyes of my horse,
my littles horse,


Let us come to the zenith
and discover scraps,
broken glass, rags and plastic packs.
Our soul, open to lures
knows that
movement in darkness
is that of crabs in the soul.
We walk, talk
and laugh in solitude.
But silence never comes,
never comes.


Red flags flicker
over our heads.
And I try to come
out of the court.
But in the chorus
of clapping and moonlit laughter,
my fear sinks into rocks.

Standing in front of a mirror,
I discover myself, in the rings
with t he bulls.
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