Fort Kochi

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St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi

Beneath the muddy ground where I stood
Graves those histories left behind
In waves’ hisses
Still the triumphant cheer of settlers
unemptied desires, palpitations
Incessantly calling back
Ceaseless breaths of
Abandoned promised land
Of Arabia
Of Lisbon’s port of hopes
The coast is not aware
Of passed by sounds of footsteps
Of  horses galloping
Depths of furrows
Left over by cannon wheels
From the sea, when I reach the land
Souvenirs of conquerors and defeated
Still, as the roof of St. Francis Church
A Portuguese ship lying upside down (1)
From the left and right walls
Buried Portuguese and Dutch (2)
Cross glances
Sharpen ears
Trumpets of silence
For Vasco da Gama
An empty tomb lying in the middle
Merged of conquests and confessions,
A place for everyone
And no one
Between churches, shrines and backwaters
Days and nights of the present
Like a forgotten
I cannot stay here
Nor can I go into exile
To look for distant shores of incessant desires
Between histories, beliefs and the sea
I will
Go on becoming estranged.

(The roof of this church, built in Fort Kochi in the first decades of 15th century by Vasco da Gama and his colleagues Pedro Álvares Cabral and Afonso de Albuquerque together with the Portuguese soldiers, was designed in the shape of an upturned Portuguese ship.