Thursday, 12 June 2014

For how long shall we burn

For how long shall we burn
And not speak up
For how long shall the shackles
Bind us down
For how long shall we die unfed
Lie bleeding naked on apathetic roadsides
A titillating spectacle to the eyes of
Indifferent passersby

For how long shall the wolves hunt us down
Succulent flesh to soulless predators
For how long shall the trees bend down
Laden with mutilated corpses
Their swaying skyward branches
The only haven for abandoned, violated girls

For how long shall our parents die
Each day a thousand deaths
Burning dowries, kitchen fires
For how long shall our brothers kill us
For love, for honour
For daring to choose our lives

For how long shall we be hounded by rapacious
Gangs of emasculated men
For how long shall our unborn selves
Cry unheard in mutilated pain
For how long shall we burn

And not speak up
© Sutapa Chaudhuri
A bilingual poet, translator and an academic, Sutapa Chaudhuri, PhD, teaches English at a college near Kolkata, IndiaShe has two poetry collections—Broken Rhapsodies (2011) and Touching Nadir (2014).This poem is a response to the condition of Indian women and their experience of violence, and domestic abuse, including rape, dowry deaths, female foeticide, honour killings, abandonment and countless other heinous crimes…

2 comments:

  1. oh Sutapa, beautifully done! Crisp clear writing that holds back no punches. All for daring to choose a life. Your lines are exquisite but the imagery of the following hit deep within - as they should do:

    For how long shall the trees bend down
    Laden with mutilated corpses

    Beautifully done! Achingly sad.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mari. We should all speak up against violence, esp. violence against women and children. We need many, many more voices still, sadly.

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