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Three Sherlockian Poems

Three new selections from our ongoing series of Sherlockian Poems: A Rare Friendship, The Dark Valley of Fear, and Breakfast at 221B Baker Street.

A RARE FRIENDSHIP

To the Memory of Arthur Conan Doyle

 

All this was a long time ago.

They lived together, day and night,

 

in heat and winter, as if

they didn’t care for anything at all.

 

I have met them at their  rooms,

thinking of the cases which

 

occurred while I counted my fingers,

waited for the two friends.

 

“The game is afoot!” one said,

while the other was calculating

 

the odds against the case which

had brought them together.

 

Baker Street seemed like an oven

in  the August of 1889.

 

The rains had stopped

and the heat seemed to have come

 

from Afghanistan, along with

Watson, who bore it cheerfully.

 

Holmes played on his violin,

with  the tobacco in his pipe.

 

Who cares to go back in time,

except me? Who spent the mornings

 

with the Baker Street Irregulars

while Lestrade watched the drama

 

that was being played purposelessly?

The two friends were reading

 

each other’s mind, while

the morning newspaper waited

 

to be used carefully, the eyes

picking up A Study in Scarlet.

 

Friendship it was and remained so

for  days, weeks and years.

 

“Excellent”, the detective said

even as his friend held out possibilities.

 

At this time, one wants to go back

in time, be with the case in hand.

 

The hound still sounds at night

somewhere in the countryside.

 

The Valley of Fear is designed

with all its intricacies of fate.

 

Here, in London, no one wins, no one

loses, except Lestrade and his team.

 

I was in London in 1895, watching

every turn and twist that fate

 

had presented to me with.

Who else was there? Who tells me

 

that he was there too, among

books and trophies, letters

 

and other memorabilia.

Let the stories float at this time,

 

live with us, concluding problems

that chose to be there.

 

Who wants to look at friendships

as if they were the rarest of the rare?

 

May we dream of those events

that were making up stories.

 

May the friends choose to be with us,

during the rest of our broken lives.

 

 

THE DARK VALLEY OF FEAR

For Roger Johnson

 

 

I can only see dark faces

returning homes from the mines.

 

There is fear in their eyes,

in their sluggish walk.

 

Here, everyone thinks about

the future, of uncertainties and fears.

 

The houses are small, their interiors

waiting for new arrivals.

 

The club house is the only place

where bright lamps take away

 

the evenings to gossip;

the strangers are not liked at all.

 

Somewhere near it, a young girl’s voice

speaks of love and compassion.

 

Here, lovers are few. They spend their time

talking of distant places where

 

there wouldn’t be any fear.

There is death here, walking

 

hand in hand with life, like

the sun and the moon, day and night.

 

Death is discussed in close circles

and decisions are made regarding

 

how exactly death should come.

Someone is assigned the task

 

of clearing inconsiderate faces.

The sound of bullets rushing

 

through the nights mix with the sound

of walking feet in the slush

 

of clay and death, past and future.

There are bodies that open out

 

 

in the morning, waiting to be buried;

the end has its voice too.

 

Let us stay here for a while

and watch everyday things.

 

We may not wait for a long time though;

here the walls can hear our voices.

 

Who takes care of this town, offers it

the much-needed shelter from death?

 

The dark valley is full of noiseless

lives, their moments too precious

 

to be forgotten, too large to be

a part of honest lives.

 

Who waits here to be spoken to

in the middle of the nights about

 

the plans for survival, death and life,

as if nothing was lost, nothing gained?

 

BREAKFAST AT 221B BAKER STREET

 

I have been here for sometime.

our talk has carried us

 

to India, Afghanistan ,

Salt Lake City, the magnificent islands

 

of Andaman and Nicobar,

supported by old stories of stone.

 

Holmes finishes his cigars

one after one, till the end of time.

 

Mrs. Hudson brings

our coffee, waits at the door,

 

asks if we need anything else,

then quietly departs, her footsteps

 

sounding on the stairs.

I don’t talk, just listen to my friends.

 

An hour passes, and then, another;

the wall-clock ticking away

 

towards future and crime.

It is time for butter, cheese and toast,

 

orange juice freshly made.

Watson has lost himself in thought.

 

The street below shows

the Sunday crowd moving towards

 

their familiar destinations.

Holmes is deep into the Daily Mail,

 

exclaiming from time to time.

“The morning is so dull,” he says.

 

We finish our breakfast, get back

to our resting places, thinking of nothing.

 

So then, finally, I’m back in 1895.

This is the end of my world.

Posted in Fiction.

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