Poem of the Week | June 18, 2018

This week, we are excited to offer a new poem by Bibhu Padhi. Padhi has published eleven books of poetry. His poems have appeared in distinguished magazines and anthologies throughout the English-speaking countries. In the USA his work has appeared, among others, in The American Scholar, Commonweal, Colorado Review, Poet Lore, Poetry, Southwest Review, and TriQuarterly. He lives with his family in Bhubaneswar, India.

Lamb Lunch, Good Friday

for Minu
I already know, there isn’t much flesh here.
The eagerness of an exotic lunch
is somehow blunted and burnt
in a pan of its own making.
“There’s only bone and thin-bone,”
someone quietly complains.
And someone else describes how
he was cheated by a lamb
that was too small for our appetite.
I imagine our imagined sacrifices,
our ingrained habit to place the blame
where it hardly belongs.
I’m about to say the following
words, ask a question or two of sorts:
“How much more could it give us?
It gave us the whole of itself, small as it was,
hiding nothing, in its very own, special ways.
It is for us to decide whether we accept
such sacrifice or call it less than one.
What more could it give you except
growing bones and flesh still
in the process of accumulation?”
I remember an intelligent student
asking me why William Blake
had used the tiger with the lamb
and I failing to answer.
But now, I think, I understand
what simplicity is, what innocence is not—
a powerful mind dreaming of a terrible image
that will hold good for centuries, a turn
of the will, a wish nonetheless to say
less than what one intended.
And a will to refuse to mourn the dead.