Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweeper Woman

Thin, brown stick of woman,
her face grown old with pain,
dark eyes of long forgetting
the years not seen again.

In youth she dreamed so easily
but living gave her truth
that Harijans must keep their place;
they have but one good use.
And so she sweeps and cleans away,
the dropped debris of life
as mourning mimics ages past;
there is no place for pride.
In India imprisoned souls,
for freedom only yearn,
with centuries of barriers built
to block their every turn.
She knows not of the changing world
and is not meant to learn
for sweepers creep amidst the dirt;
from birth so cruelly spurned.
Fresh, foreign eyes cannot make out
the mark so clearly seen
by Hindus from the higher castes,
which so condemns her being.
This curse which crowns and crucifies,
denied - yet honoured still,
will be the death of India;
though she may never yield.
Thin, brown stick of woman,
your being burdened low
by centuries of hatred;
which only India knows.

Another poem Out of India as I trawl old files because there is not enough time to write.

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