Five Poems: Ebb tide on the Zuari

By Brian Mendonça

Ten Rupees

A 10-rupee stamp
on a letter from home
is more precious than
what accrues from
10,000 rupees
on a dash to the West coast.
The handwriting is dad's
with the address
in fine black sketch pen
on a brown envelope
with his own address,
neatly on the reverse
       the characters upright
just like him.

At its nethermost tip
I carefully tear off
the neatly-sealed envelope
and breathe in the smell
of its pages . . .

of home, of belonging
of trees outside my window
and the sounds of Mangor Hill.

May 2007, New Delhi

The poet reminisces about his ancestral home on Mangor Hill, Vasco, Goa.

The Anointed

And there will be
a sunrise
over a new dawn
where the ponos
embraces the custard apple.
And the cries of the crows
drown the sleepy hamlet
and the twit reaches up
to the branches of the gulmohar.

Where the pigeon soars
'neath the eagle’s path
and the flutter of wings
heralds a new dawn.
Yes, there will be a sunrise
over the dead habit of yesterday
and the meaning of tomorrow.

When the seeker
will be anointed
with the beams of gold.

December 2006, Sunrise, Vasco, Goa

Ebb tide on the Zuari

Ebb tide on the Zuari
The barges furrow the seabed
The fishnets stark
In the morning sun
The waters, a muddy grey.

High tide on the Zuari
The barges coast along the waters
The fishnets absent
in the afternoon sun
The waters a cool blue.

April 2007, Zuari river, Goa


Yes, the chausa is firm
ripe, and luscious
But how must I choose
when you provoke me
with your breasts?

Delhi, 1999

Chausa or chaunsa: a type of mango indigenous to the north of the India subcontinent.


The mesh of your curls
is warm to touch
Do your eyes know
Your body burns?

Lucknow, 2004

Brian Mendonça, Ph.D, published two volumes of poems: Last Bus to Vasco: Poems from Goa (2006) and A Peace of India: Poems in Transit (2011). His work has been anthologised in Goa: A Garland of Poems (2017) – a landmark collection edited by Rochelle Potkar, and translated into Irish. He teaches English language and literature at Carmel College, Nuvem, Goa. His short story debut ‘Maria’s Boutique’ was shortlisted for the 2017 Fundaçao Oriente short story competition. Brian is a columnist for the Gomantak Times Weekender edition, and anchors programmes for Mhadei channel on All India Radio, Panjim. He lives in Porvorim, Goa, with his wife and son.  Follow him on his blog here.