Mukesh Williams

by Best Poem

Transfiguring the Past, 7 Mayo Road

One day
The very foundation of our consciousness
Just vanished.
The house we grew up in,
The place where our experience
Was distilled,
Our aesthetics formed,
Our notions of right and wrong determined,
Was gone.

I received a photograph
Of the stucco white Victorian house
Before it was dismantled.
The house looked decrepit,
Deserted of excitement,
Desiccated like an old currant.
Since this was unacceptable
To my memory
I threw the photograph away.

In a foreign land
When it rains and
The temperature is right
The enchanted castle
Suddenly reappears
As of before
Uncontaminated by a photograph,
Unsullied by the fading gloss
Of technology.

If you stretch your imagination
And let it enter your memory
You can remove the dark lichen
From the walls and portico,
Repair the dilapidated fence,
Restore the dehydrated fruit, and
Once again, allow
A Rembrandtian chiaroscuro
To play delicately upon its arches.

You can close your eyes and
Relax in the pitter-patter of rain,
Even hear it drip from dark eaves,
You can make the banyan and mango trees
Rise majestically
Over the dozing water buffaloes, or
Create an imperishable summer in retrospect,
Where half-naked children can race
Through the shifting shadow of trees.

Mukesh Williams teaches English and American Studies at two universities in Japan and also writes poetry. A small book of his poems, Nakasendo and Other Poems, was published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta, in 2006. An Indian citizen, Mukesh has a doctorate in Contemporary American Literature from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on English poetry, fiction, prose and drama for nearly two decades at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He has also been the editor-in-chief of The Stephanian and was the President of the Shakespeare Society at St. Stephen’s College. He has been on the faculties of Soka University for nine years and at Keio University-SFC for six years. His third and latest co-authored book, Representing India: Politics, Identities, and Literatures has been released by Oxford University Press in December 2007. He can be contacted through his blog site.