Tuesday, October 26, 2010


She picks up the corners of her billowing skirt

tucks them in an unyielding knot

stoops down and picks up with both hands

the mammoth implement high above her head

bringing down with compelling force, right

on the stone bed supine on which rests a slim blade

of iron twisted in a strong braid.

The morning glides by giving way to noon

whence she balances rows of bricks

one on top of the other

on the fulcrum of her delicate head

and sways up the rickety bamboo steps

with a strange, sultry grace

while the unruly strands of her locks

waltz in unearthly haste in tune with the wind

atop the construct she works till the sun approaches doom.

In between her toil she steals a peep behind the ancient peepal tree

tied to whose sturdy branches is a make shift hammock

swinging indolently in the breeze.

Once-white now soiled beyond remedy a sheet of cloth slightly frayed

holds a slender sliver of life deep in sleep

forging an unfaltering bond with dreams

his innocence caught in a broken twig clasped tight

in baby fingers, soft and a little muddy under the nails.

As the sun scorches the mother’s limbs to more rugged sheen,

he sleeps in the shade of clumped leaves and branches of a parent tree.

As night kisses the sky the mother ambles down the lane

homewards, a solitary dame with a bundle carefully

locked in arms, reclining on her fragile blade.

Faraway on the other side of the stream a swirl of smoke

rises up the sky; hazed in the mist is a lonely frame

the damsel treads across the field towards her modest hearth

head held high, carrying the joy of her nomadic life

Mother and child embroider a tale every day

On a blank, colourless, threadbare, wanton sheet.

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