An ode to embodied resistance

dying river

She sits by the river bearing the scars of a lifetime,
Each scar reminding her of a struggle that she now embodies.

She knew she has intuition and empathy that feeds into a collective intelligence pool to shift the world towards kindness and love.
She learnt this wisdom from her ancestors, who visited her on some quiet and lonely moon lit evenings.

The people in suits tried to tear this wisdom away from her body but failed, They then pretended it didn’t even exist. What they didn’t realise is that this wisdom is connected, connected to everything far and beyond.

She sits by the river and her tears flow into its waters, which reeks of rotting flesh and chemical discharges from factories run by people in suits.

She remembers the river wasn’t always this murky, but as scars appeared on her flesh, the river lost its freshness.

She looked up through those teary eyes and saw many like her with scars of different kinds but all weeping. She knew they didn’t cry for their scars as those were marks of social, political and cultural struggle.

They cried for the river!

They wept as their souls were bound to the flow of the river, like their hearts to the sounds of the forests. But those people in suits whose eyes are glazed with promise of capital through extraction are unable to see, hear or feel this.

She stood up, her scars visible to the world, she wiped her tears, took a deep breath and started to sing the most melodious song. As she sang her body swayed with the wind and the trees followed her lead. An owl in a distance hoot to the beat and a roar from the distance added to the chorus.

They all stood up and opened their mouths to sing,
It seems like a song that ran through their body like the blood in their veins.

As they sang and danced, they moved closer to each other, stretching out their arms to hold one and another.
They now swayed as one body and one soul!

The people in suits, shouted on top of their voices, that this was not the way of the world. That intelligence was not in understanding the way of the river or forest but what they can do for us.

The songs and the dance became louder, till every grain of sand, every leaf on the tree and the wings of the parakeet vibrated with the sounds.

The music drowned the screaming and yelling by the suits, and with every melody the river grew stronger. Its strength now mightier than the smoke stacks of factories and the grinding of machines that shred the surface of the Earth.

She sits by the river, humming to the ebb and flow of the tide. She is at peace as she runs her fingers through the scars,
Each of them a beautiful creature from the water.

Neha Saigal – Works in the space of gender and climate change and generally doesn’t write poetry, but was inspired to after interactions with a few readings and amazing women working in environment and climate justice.


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