Spiders infest the sky.
They are palms, you say,
hung in a web of light.
Garlands beheading the body
and everybody dressed in white.
Who are we ghosts of?
Upset like water
I dive for my favourite tree
which is no longer there
though they’ve let its roots remain.
© 1976, Adil Jussawalla
From: Missing Person
Publisher: Clearing House, Mumbai, 1976
1. In the first one is a beautiful image of the palm trees (which appear to you as soon as you land in the airport) ,their fronds against the setting sun looking like spiders hung in a web of light.
2. The second one has two lovely images :Garlands beheading the body meaning the heavy garlands have almost covered the head of the diseased .”Everybody dressed in white:who are we ghosts of ?” referring to the custom of the near and dear ones wearing white clothes in the funeral
3. The third one has a beautiful image “upset like water” the poet “dives” for my favourite tree. Apparently in the gloom of the funeral the poet is upset like “water”,like the stillness of the waters touched by a falling leaf. The favourite tree is no longer there,although its roots still exist. “the roots still exist” refers to the poet’s own roots in his own childhood days spent here before his exile .