A girl walks on her house terrace
In the transient sunlight in winter
Talking to a bird.
On the border, an old peasant in the make-shift camp
Shivers in the wind’s chill.
A cloud climbs down to cover him with a white blanket.
The light green of the new-born leaves of a lemon tree
Asks the breeze to whistle a song
On the border peasants sing a harvest song in a chorus.
A woman boils tea in the song’s fire.
Her hair hides maize stalks.
At the gate of the SPM school, an old man
Stands guard to vacant classrooms.
Children’s laughter chokes in the rooms.
On the border a peasant recounts tales of Partition.
An old woman wails seeing blood flow
From his stories that unwind like his turban
In a corner of the maidan where they make tents for the Pooja
Darkness crouches waiting for the sunlight to vanish
A crow pecks at it until it bleeds.
On the border three poets read poetry in the peasants’ camp:
One in Urdu, one in Hindi and the third in Punjabi
When they freeze, all the languages look alike: an alphabet of chill.
Birds chirp looking for fruits
Fruits play hide-and-seek on the branches
Snow, amused, brings forth a cold laugh.
On the border a young man paints a banner in his own blood,
“PEASANTS’STRUGGLE:20TH DAY” and with it,
Covers his father, killed by the murderous chill.
Jesus, with his bleeding forehead, comes and sits among them
The dead peasant slowly raises his fist with its nail-marks
And his dead lips shout: ‘Jai Kisan. Inquilab..’
Others complete the slogan, ‘Zindabad! Hum dekhenge,
The struggle will not cease!’
K. Satchidanandan is an eminent poet