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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017
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Angelee Deodhar
Chandigarh, India


The Great Railway Bazaar

We have stopped a few kilometres outside the station, to let another train pass.

From our train beyond splashes of red bougainvillea and spears of green in fields of rice, I can see egrets walk through clouds under a rain spattered sky, while a kingfisher dives into ground fog from overhead wires.

Across from me a child claps and sings:

Clickety clack a-long, a-long
A train is coming, a-chonk, a-chonk

In the distance beyond the tilted railway carriage with grass growing between now rusted wheels stands a whitewashed shrine with a tattered flag.

Clickety clack a-long, a-long
A train is coming, a-chonk, a-chonk

Farther afield, barebacked farmers and their women bend over the water, removing snails and straightening seedlings. An urchin rides a buffalo while others race each other along the canal bank.

water garden
waterlogged; yet
that blue waterlily

Clickety clack a-long, a-long
A train is coming, a-chonk, a-chonk

under a lotus leaf
one frog, then another
—still another

Wind shadows whistle under the rickety bridge above water hyacinths clogging the waterway beyond which lies a village with mud-colored dwellings. An occasional house painted a vivid cobalt challenges the sky…

after the rain
in the secret garden
a drift of fireflies


Notes:

Title credit: The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia, a travelogue by the American novelist Paul Theroux, first published in 1975.

“Clickety clack,” a child’s nursery rhyme.

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