Thursday, 15 August 2019

Poetry 2019 Longlist, Mrinalini Harchandrai


Damnation

The villagers sat chest-deep
in swirling water
passing bread as they held protest
banners, staying resolute
like river rocks
their livelihoods gambled
for drops at the ballot
their lives exchanged
for an ocean of people
they’ve never met.

The nation downstream
would turn on their taps
not knowing whose blood
would be washing their vessels
whose tears would be the dew
on their days
whose roots have been wrenched
to moisten their buds.

Personal histories
get submerged and eroded
in the levee of politics
displacing the humanity
in cost exchange spillways
hydro power surges
with tension and sparks
backroom dictatorships
zapping and trading rights
redrafting survival laws
at the crimson sluice gates
of development.

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