Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Mother Says …


Mother Says …

Mother says

Before going out, look at the sky
Because death on silver wings
May hover high above, waiting
And come down like a thousand
Angels of doom.
But it can happen even when you are at home.


Mother says
Stay away from weddings, and from funerals
Anywhere people gather, because
When people gather, that’s when
Bad things happen, like bombs from the air.
But how can I avoid them?
The funerals are everywhere.


Mother says
When gathering firewood on the hillside
When getting water from the well
When playing with your friends
Be careful, because to be out in the open, 
Even if you’re young, is dangerous
And punished by loss of life and limb.


Mother says
If they come in the night,
If they break down the door
And enter with dogs and guns,
Don’t look at them, and above all
Don’t scream or run.
Because if you do, bad things can happen.


Mother says
Your father is not with us, but it was not by choice.
He did not leave us deliberately alone.
He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time
And paid dearly for that mistake.
Called an enemy, he sleeps this night
Under the stony ground.


Mother says
Look at this picture, look at this girl
Hugging her father’s leg, staring tearfully
Out of the magazine page.
She doesn’t want her father to go away to war.
She doesn’t want her father to come
Across the world, to us, to our land.


Mother says
Look at this girl, blonde and young
On the other side of the world. Frightened, too.
You could have been friends,
Mother says, and though you are a world apart,
There is a little girl
Like you.


   Copyright B Purkayastha 2012