Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

New Delhi Street Scene

by Stephen Beattie

Standing outside the carpet shop,
clutching a
durrie that maybe
once saw Kashmir, I wonder
why we tourists only talk about the cows,
how their milk comes from the mother goddess,
how their sanctity binds together
the chaos of the cosmos.
No one mentions the dogs;
jaundiced furred, amber-eyed
mongrels that litter the city
from suburb to centre.
Worshipped by none, not even
pitied by pale skinned Europeans.
Then, from around the corner,
a crippled beggar boy crabs
along the pavement.
His limbs impossibly twisted,
hands pleading for rupees.
In silent guilt we board the coach;
someone points to a sacred cow,
all eyes focus on it. Unseen
the beggar curls up against a sleeping dog;
the closest he’ll ever come to the comfort
of another beating heart.

Added: 20.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Brilliantly observed moment.


I like this work immensely - it's irregular lines and lack of rhyme and most of all the idea expressed. I think the writer is so right.


Sorry for not leaving a constructive comment, but I must say, the last line sent a shiver down my spine. Beautiful!


So sorry I could not place this excellant poem in my top 4. i wish I could have put 6 through