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Winter 1998, Volume 15.1

Poetry

 

Leila Sen


Leila Sen (B.A., Calcutta U) has placed her award-winning poetry into
America's Best in 1994 and 1995. Her work has appeared in At Water's Edge, Indian Post, Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and The Fairy Book.

 

India, 1947. TITHES FOR INDEPENDENCE.
Remembrance…

Bande Mataram! Salute the Mother!
Wild, Hindu whiplash of anger
Fans Islam's enraged echo,
Allah-ho-Akbar! God Is Great!
Broken boundaries & kinships,
Brother against brother,
In the name of thy Maker,
Vindicate this murder.
Pillage & plunder,
This, thy hallowed Mother;
Her hate-ravaged womb,
Now, tear widely asunder.
Land of fertility, of hunger;
Land of divinity & disaster
Poisoned by the hissing adder
Of fear; venomed fangs of mistrust
Nestle deep within her.
Raped village & blood-stained pasture,
Like raw wounds gape & fester
Into putrid sores of rancor.
Broken bodies of towns leer.
God's face twists in terror
At man's writhing signature
And malevolent thumb print on Nature.
Bande Mataram!
Frenetic whiplash of anger;
Screams the mangled echo,
Allah-ho-Akbar!

The two-year old gurgles
As the ferocious roar hits her,
'Bande-ta-lam,' she lisps, 'Ala-kabal.'
Her generation's heritage.
Tithes for Independence.

 

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