Humanist Voices in Verse: In the Streets of Mumbai by Daniel Thomas Moran

HNN’s Poetry Editor Daniel Thomas Moran shares a poem inspired by a wedding of two former students of his in India. Below is a picture of the poet with his wife, Karen.

Daniel Thomas Moran served as Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York from 2005 to 2007. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Forum, and the Poetry Salzburg Review. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University’s School of Dental Medicine. His website is

If you’d like to contribute original poetry to Humanist Voices in Verse, write to with “Poetry” in the subject line. Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.

Daniel Thomas & Karen MoranIn the Streets of Mumbai
             for Ankur and Khushbu Oswal-January 2013

The dusts of India have
lain down upon everything,
Concealing the writing
on the walls, Weighing
down the sagging rooftops,
Choking the sun and the machines.
Veiling the fifty million
brown feet of Mumbai.

The dogs shake a dusty shake.
The cows low a dusty low.
Teak, sable-haired men
chase it with wispy brooms.

It is only the women
who seem immune to it all,
Draped in pastel silks,
their flowing hems
keeping it from them.

This morning, in the
streets of Mumbai, 
spattered over the chaos,
they are as the shed petals of
jasmine, rose and marigold,
fallen from the garlands
of a bride and her groom.
—Daniel Thomas Moran (2013)