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Below is the poem entitled Madras which was written by poet Thomas Mansfield. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Poet's Notes

Madras is the old name for what is now Chennai in South India. This poem and another poem "Enterprise" were written from a number of observations I had made in the 2+ years I worked there intermittently. 

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Hotel lobbies, hotel bars
Hotel rooms, air conditioned cars
City sights and sounds and smells
A smile, a frown, a shout impels
The thoughts within to exude
And express themselves without interlude

Here no blossoms, no sweet fresh air
Save the scented jasmine in the women's hair
And the two don't mix, as we all know
Like the fires of hell and virgin snow

Flowing bright and silken dress
Saris adorn the putrid mess
Hems lifted gently to protect them
From certain ruin in the amalgam

Of open sewers - each gutter one
Of refuse tips - the pavements on
Rotten, decaying, organic matter
Dried up dung and vomit spatter

From the mouths of the unlucky
Poor and destitute - never plucky
"They are content with their lot"
(Steeped in drink, their guts they rot)

Laying near the dirty door
Their filthy rags bright no more
In the street or on a stair
Ignored by all without a care

And yet...and yet, life goes on
Each to their own - their God isn't one
Some are born to thrive and prosper
Others to poverty and despair

And here we are, visitors just
Though we discreetly watch - as we must!
And absorb each heart rending sight
Forsaking those in their plight

But if we give - sometimes we do
There are no thanks, nor feelings due
Because are we helping them buy food
Or alcohol which kills? Then we brood

And the rich they come in chauffeured car
Or the latest model bought by Pa
In designer clothes, their scarves unfurled
The stench, the poor? Another world!

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  1. Date: 7/30/2014 12:57:00 PM
    WAOWW ... just went in a flow of words and made me emotional ..showed the differenc n discrimination very well