Amid a tumultuous bazaar
a bazaar of arabesque din,
a warren of dirham and dinar
of rue of vice of sin,
lies an unsold pomfret
reclining-on-the-spine, belly up
like a corpse, for a corpse she-he is
a carcass and yet, so plump
behind the festooned stall sits
a vendor bearing an eye for a glutton.
and however artless may he be,
will always be deemed a charlatan.
“half-a-kilo four hundred”
the words ensconced in his throat
“pomfret of fresh lagoons, thoroughbred”
echoes the blarney verse by rote.
a decoy arrives, for the evening chores
a Bengali lady, rotund and plump
the veteran of a great many bargain-wars
witnessed by the sack that overlooks her rump
“four-hundred-a-pound, did say thou?
look a-yonder, chuckeroo, fishes galore
on a fool’s errand, you are so
carry coal to Newcastle, go.”
“a connoisseur of fish, I may be called
for the whole Bay of Bengal, I’ve grilled and charred
and every nautical creature, the seven seas hold,
towers of them fish skulls, my shelf doth lard.”
“three-hundred” proclaimed she, to the vendor’s chagrin
who twitched a nostril and still harped on
“too much clever by half, lady you’ve been
but throngs of lasses and dames galore
before you, have come and gone.”
“Oh come now on, then, you awful lout
let the pomfret have her choice
for she’s the one it’s all about”
thus said, both consented and sat apoise.
Towards the lady, the fish would turn,
bearing malice in her eye
for glory-in-death, she let her master burn
who cursed, “oh foul creature, drown and die.”
The vile arbiter, along with her mistress
swam to her house, to be cooked and fried
who had all her life, been a just-‘nother-fish
now attained worth, after having died.
reaching the kitchen, she usurped a skillet.
the skin was pierced with a keen deba knife
half of her ended in the trash, nose to gullet,
the rest was savoured by the house and its wife.
O foul day! O desperate deed!
a thorn caused the savour to cease
on the pomfret as the wife began to feed,
for the dead fish had a penchant to renege.
The pomfret had now her master’s revenge
who had been wronged by the artful lady’s
not for a passing moment, did she cringe
and went down mirthful, to the house of Hades.
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