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Round and Round -- Vikram Seth

Guest poem submitted by Abhijit Padte:
(Poem #460) Round and Round
After a long and wretched flight
That stretched from daylight into night,
Where babies wept and tempers shattered
And the plane lurched and whiskey splattered
Over my plastic food, I came
To claim my bags from Baggage Claim

Around, the carousel went around
The anxious travelers sought and found
Their bags, intact or gently battered,
But to my foolish eyes what mattered
Was a brave suitcase, red and small,
That circled round, not mine at all.

I knew that bag. It must be hers.
We hadnt met in seven years!
And as the metal plates squealed and clattered
My happy memories chimed and chattered.
An old man pulled it off the Claim.
My bags appeared: I did the same.
-- Vikram Seth
This poem is from Vikram Seth's volume of poems 'All You who Sleep Tonight',
published in 1990. Vikram Seth is better known for his narrative poem the
'Golden Gate'.

I like this poem for its simplicity and particularly for its depiction of how a
simple thing as a familiar bag can evoke a spate of emotions emanating from a
network of memories all tied up to some attachments in the past. In some sense
we all feel that we are through with the past and yet some simple event can
trigger of an overwhelming sense of reliving those moments. The human psyche has
a remarkable ability to retain the emotional contents of events long forgotten.

What also come through is the sense of tremendous expectations raised and
lowered with a deftness by the poet in the span of the last two lines.

Abhijit Padte.

14 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Tracy Mattingly said...

I like this poem's humor. The redundancy of the line "To claim my bags
from Baggage Claim" is funny, I guess because the line is as unpoetic as
the sign itself, and because it announces the poem's pun on "Baggage" in
such a non-subtle way.

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