Remembering Dilip Chitre

by Michelle

It’s a perfectly still night, cicadas ringing and repeating their summer song, There’s a plane transecting the pink, gauzy sky and the jacaranda boughs, which overarch the eaves, are teeming with flowers. If it isn’t snowing here in the southern hemisphere, then purple trumpet blossoms are cascading from those trees, all day long and at night leaving a carpet of lilac on the lawn. Everything seems intoxicated, from dying, tumbling bees to the somnolent lizard, statuesque in the garden.

I drove to the coast this afternoon and felt the blazing sun, which illuminates and feeds the flickering eucalypts. I thought of the poet Dilip Chitre, who lost his battle with prostate cancer twelve months ago. Through my work as an editor, we became acquainted in the months before he died. Dilip was provocative and concerned about the state of the world. A brilliant writer, artist and filmaker who lived in Bombay and later Pune, Chitre pioneered internationally acclaimed translations of Marathi poetry, particularly Tukaram, a sudra of the 17th century Bhakti movement. We remember Dilip Chitre for his brave heart, his vivacity and humour, but mostly for his remarkable genius with words and images.

Will the Poem End ?

Will the poem end where
Barbed letters stare their black spells
Aimed at my eyes
Blood turns into tears shed by
An absent eye
And the admonition:
“Thou shalt not love this world
And sleep with thy enemy.”

Will the poem end when
All His light is spent
And to a standstill, to a standstill come
All heartbeats and all drums
The cosmic drone
Buzzes back into itself
Looking for its beginning

Dilip Chitre