O land, my land!
Our first home, my first breath
Our first step, my first love
This day I am merely a seasonal visitor,
Though change in each air
Brings feelings of you in my skeletal bosom,
Today the winter fades
And I chronically sneeze into the next season,
The migrant birds gather yonder
In the great and scattered patches of sand
Your rivers part and shrivel up
As the avian race picnic and hop around,
I almost weep in jealousy
How you allow aliens to hobnob in carefree jollity,
Abandoning me to tread my steps so carefully
Extracting an exactness of behaviour out of me;
Last time we met, I refused to tally up your count
Seemingly putting the ball in my court
You made me leave on my own account.
I long for you
As I inhale soot in the concrete city
I imagine the paddy fields are dry
The first rice has been given to the fire.
I know I am so away and you do not miss me.
Very soon you will shift your hue,
Your earthy brownness turning to glistening soft green
I hanker to be here
But you won’t imagine
The dew drops on the young leaves
Amidst them hang too, drops of my tear.
The flowers in the wild, the shoots spring
And melodious minstrels sing
Of the magic of colours that the orchids wear,
I imagine how happily you stretch and yawn
Scintillating and soothing your each dawn;
My home these days is deceptively misty
With each breathing existence becomes a travesty.
I long for you
This home where I inhabit
Is never home enough, you always ruin
My every attempt to be elsewhere,
Every possible turn of the air
I keep thinking how beautiful you must then appear.
Your edges will always be old for me
As I age you will remain
The very same – arrogant and unforgiving,
The changes of newness in you
I almost cannot bear;
When one falls in love, they say
Time freezes long after love has passed
And the love no longer be.
Were it not for you
I would have never left
Seeking to explore new lands, new characters;
The stillness and sameness of you
Hung like a tightrope wound around my neck
You were but a repetition of yourself
And the fidgety heart in my little body
Sough to taste new waters, seek new loves
Better than you, different and more exciting.
For you I left, for you I keep returning
From all my homes and travails
The tune of your existence
Keep knocking in my head,
Reducing me to an errant child
Mocking at my exiled state.
I remember the rains, the puddles
Toads and frogs jumping in the wet fields
Glow worms glittering in the bushes
Behind our houses
That moon between two tall betel trees
Dew drops on the plants
Lazy lowing of the dwarf cows
The dumb faces of the goats chewing away
The left over shoots of the paddy
The wrinkles of grandmother’s face
The ghost of her son
The million reasons why I keep turning back
To you, every season, every year
You cannot keep me, I cannot stay
Our ways are different, severance our fate
In your love I lose my freedom
In my freedom, I lose you
In losing you are my home;
From the distance I love you better
Yet the aching grows,
I cannot be with you and without you,
My land, O dear land!
I will always speak fondly of you,
I imagine your women happy
Giving birth to sweet little tomorrows
Serving you unquestioningly
That I cannot be;
And I imagine to return to your womb
You will have the last breath of mine.