Tuesday 1 September 2015

Poetry 2015 Shortlist, Neelamani Sutar

Tale of a Peasant

He lives there, where people love
Land as mother, worship agriculture
People of his nation, after independence
brought green, white, yellow, blue revolutions
to meet with the crisis of food
to wipe out hunger
to up root poverty.
He tills his mother earth
carries plough on his shoulder
sheds his sweats
turns himself into soil.
After a year of severe flood,
several children of his homeland
are at risk of death
due to lack of proper nutrition.
He returns from his polluted land
carrying a basket on his shoulder
full of golden harvest.
Flood stricken cornfields
Harvests destroyed, paddy fields washed
yet he carries food grains on his shoulder
The cattle Kraals are empty
The goats gaunt
No protein food for children
but he is carrying a basket
full of golden harvest.
In his motherland
where people worship food as god
Through away it and feel proud for it
where some people also search dustbins
madly hoping a handful of stale rice
to do away with their hunger.
The experts do research on cropping
Those with power keep their power.
Only he, the nominal farmer
trusts himself with earth’s treasure
is carrying a basket full of golden harvest
on his shoulder.
The sun does not dissuade him,
nor the water logging
that blows against him
as he ploughs barren land,
grows golden harvests
on the other hand,
drowns into the deep sea of loans
beaten by poverty.
He feeds the nation,
cannot feed his family.
He trusts his hand for his countrymen
what they used now,
but cannot do his family and himself.
Between life and death,
he is carrying a basket on his one shoulder
full of golden harvest
carries fear of suicide on his other shoulder.

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