Women of the Land where pain blooms like poppy and Other Poems

By Sarita Jenamani

WOMEN OF THE LAND WHERE PAIN BLOOMS LIKE POPPY

Dedicated to the sisters in war ravaged countries

At the end of the day
When the words died out in sentences
and men hang on clotheslines
like starched sheets
and the barbaric chaos of war-odour
perpetually engulfs and numbs them
and when their blue-emerald eyes
become a mere myth

Then the women of those lands
where pain blooms like poppies
realise that there is no hope
that the dust over ancestors’ graves
will ever settle down
there will be no fragrant-spring morning
to herald the future

Instead a cryptic paroxysm
will invade their homes and hearts
a freeze-frame of time
spreads over the world‘s dark mutability
forcing those sisterly silhouettes
to sink into darkness

In penetrating intimacy of darkness
these women will strike roots silently
and turn themselves
into a matrix
with profound possibilities

WOMEN IN SHROUDS

Dawn with its scarlet pride
Shimmers in the fierce water
of the sacred river
with all its glory and myth
Morning breeze unfolds itself
like an eternal mantra in the spirit of hour
and evokes its own divinity
over this pilgrimage town
You come here to find
the eternal love
of Krishna for Radha

And instead in the cobweb
of its obscure streets
you find them
stripped bare of flickering grace
of their distant adolescent dreams

Betrayed by the sacred fire
they never rise like a phoenix
but shatter like the shadow of the dead
They carry other‘s darkness
and succumb in silence to the sorrow
of their own missing lives

These women in shrouds
the widows in this pilgrimage town
roam through its streets
miles away from their imagined home
and gather tears
to stitch their own shrouds

A shroud
A symbol of an amaranthine grief
and that of a maggot-eaten society
A society without glory
that grows on women’s corpses
its root wraps around
their disfigured dead hearts

Sarita Jenamani Sarita Jenamani is an India-born Austria-based poet, essayist, literary translator, anthologist, editor of a bilingual magazine for migrant literature – Words & Worlds – a human rights activist, a feminist and general secretary of PEN International’s Austrian chapter. Her poetry that has so far been published in three collections. English is the chief medium of her creative process. The other two languages she writes in are; Odia, the state language of the place of her origin Odisha and German, the language of her country of residence, Austria. She employs these languages for the translation. Jenamani has translated Rilke, Rose Ausländer, both leading Austrian poets, from German in Odia and Hindi respectively. She has edited an anthology of contemporary Austrian poetry from German into Odia. She has received many literary fellowships in Germany and in Austria including those of the prestigious organisations of ‘Heinrich Boll Foundation and ‘Kunstlerdorf Schoppingen’.

Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

    The Latest
    • An interview with the Editors of Poetry at Sangam

      Taking down Poetry at Sangam must have generated a plethora of flashbacks of

    • The Usawa Newsletter February ‘24

      How JLF helped me with my undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD In the bustling city of

    • Artists’ representation of the human body by Ruchika Juneja

      the years of growing up were spent in finding ways to belong and belonging in

    • Preface to Mumbai Traps by Anju Makhija

      the years of growing up were spent in finding ways to belong and belonging in

    You May Also Like
    • Bitter Harvest by Anjali Purohit

      Right next to the ancient well, the tamarind tree stood centre field forming

    • Night Song (An excerpt from Cast Out and Other Stories)by Sucharita Dutta-Asane

      ‘Raater moton kaalo’ Black as the night Your father welcomed you into the world

    • Untitled Poems by Ayaz Rasool Nazki

      I pulled the desert over my eyes and sank deep into the sand blood

    • Body and Soul; excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita, translated by Mani Rao

      the excerpts in this essay are from the author’s translation of the Bhagavad