Jane Wilson-Howarth

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Awakening

Friday, 16 November 2018
Ganesh himal is hidden; the air's like soup
Grey soup; dust soup
Wakening neighbours clear mucous noisily
Rescue donkeys bray and dogs join the cacophony
I rub sleep from my eyes
Pollution inflamed
Each morning they weep
My noise dips; I sneeze and cough
as my body – in vain – tries to expel the filth I breathe.
The sky turns rosy, painted with pollution
The sun comes up blood-red; angry
What people are doing to her planet – her spawn?
 
This month Nepalis decorated cows
With marigold garlands and red powder
Dogs too have been smeared
And fed, but for the rest of the year
They eat plastic and stinking refuse
Stll starving they hobble the streets
Recovering from road accidents
Or dying from them
While each day tens of bitten folk
Go to Teku, for rabies jabs
An unlucky 15 or 16 die.
The streets are dangerous
Patrolled by battle-scarred dogs
And toxic with carcinogens.
 
 Street cow sprinkled with petals and vermillion during Laxmi puja earlier this month