Epic Poems - Poems For Epic

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  • 13.
    Equation

    (1)

    <em>From Blood to Tears</em>

    Kalahandi* asks:
    Have you seen my little child
    with the running nose, my only child -
    for forty rupees I had sold him off*
    ten years ago at the time of drought -
    how tall and strong he would be now:
    Have you seen him, Babu
    in the Raipur* market?

    Kalahandi asks:
    Have you seen my little woman
    with the single copper bracelet -
    Five years ago she went
    to the Sukinda mines alone
    to feed her stomach, but never returned:
    Have you seen her, Babu
    on the Cuttack Road?

    Tears are dear, blood is cheap:
    How will Kalahandi ever understand
    the shadowy game of tears and blood?
    With his blood and tears are made
    Cuttack's sky scrapers
    Raipur's smart streets -
    For a sack of rice, and forty rupees
    he has already drained his entire blood.
    So cheap?
    For so cheap who will return to him
    his only woman, his only child -
    the child with the running nose?

    (2)

    <i>From Tears to Blood</i>

    Kalahandi today weeps no more
    like an obstinate child - boo-hoo-wo-wow.
    The dicey game of tears and blood
    Kalahandi has now well understood
    blood is dear, tears are cheap -
    and today in Kalahandi's own courtyard
    business roars on flesh and blood.

    Kalahandi with her own jack knife
    chops off flesh from her own thighs
    and cooks and serves it hot and fresh
    for businessmen and city guests.

    Kalahandi's blood today stinks of money -
    from Cuttack to Delhi, in veins of Raipur
    today flows dark thick Kalahandi blood:
    she sells her blood in return for tear drops -
    rich man's sweet drops, gold drops, silver drops
    rain down today in Kalahandi's lap.

    (3)

    <i>Tears in Blood</i>

    Today in Kalahandi's blue blood stream
    all kinds of deadly virus abound
    spreading from village to village
    from city to city, town to town -
    sowing seeds of mass destruction
    From Cuttack to Delhi, Andhra to Assam
    spreading like AIDS, sparing no one
    leaving death trails along high roads
    making holy city men shriek in fear:
    Soon Death will spread all over the land -
    Then alone will the living dead understand
    Whether blood is dear or tears are dear:
    Recovering principal with ten fold interest,
    Kalahandi will then take her
    revenge against her betrayor.

    - - *** - -

    Translated by the poet himself from his own original Oriya poem 'Hisaaba'. This is an abridged version of the original.

    The poem won Sahitya Akademi's Indian Literature Golden Jubilee Prize for Poetry in 2007.

    Notes: -

    Kalahandi: - A drought affected tribal-dominated district in Odisha, India

    Raipur, Cuttack, Sukinda etc: - well known commercial / industrial places in and around Odisha

    The single event which inspired the poet to write this poem is a local news item which described a tribal woman of Kalahandi who was forced to sell her own daughter for only forty rupees in the face of starvation... read more »

  • 14.
    Murder Me

    Kill me,
    Jump Me,
    End my life like I care,
    Take this gun and shoot me, read more »

  • 15.
    Choices

    If i can't do
    what i want to do read more »

  • 16.
    To The Cuckoo

    O BLITHE New-comer! I have heard,
    I hear thee and rejoice.
    O Cuckoo! Shall I call thee Bird,
    Or but a wandering Voice? read more »

  • 17.
    Existence

    Stumbling on an unexpected dream,

    Capturing thought and imagination. read more »

  • 18.
    I Cry

    Sometimes when I'm alone
    I Cry,
    Cause I am on my own.
    The tears I cry are bitter and warm. read more »

  • 19.
    Fire and Ice

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I've tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire. read more »

  • 20.
    Still I Rise

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may tread me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise. read more »

  • 21.
    The Rose that Grew from Concrete

    Did you hear about the rose that grew
    from a crack in the concrete?
    Proving nature's law is wrong it
    learned to walk with out having feet. read more »

  • 22.
    Woman Work

    I've got the children to tend
    The clothes to mend
    The floor to mop
    The food to shop read more »

  • 23.
    Let America be America Again

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free. read more »

  • 24.
    Dreams

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly. read more »

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