Voices Within: Abu Siddik

Abu Siddik has edited Representation of the Marginalized in Indian Writings in English (2015). He is the author of Misfit Parents in Faulkner’s Select Texts (2015), Banglar Musolman (2018).
His short fictions and poems appeared in Muse India, Indian Ruminations, Setu Bilingual, spillwords.com and in anthologies, Serious and Hilarious, Cherry Toppings, Rise to Higher Essence. http://abusiddik.com/


O, my child! Why do you stand aloof?

O, my child! Why do you stand aloof?
Why don’t you climb shoulders anymore?
Why don’t you pester with inane queries?

Yes, you catch me with your watery eyes.
Yes, me a sinner, an impostor.
And who isn’t?

Yes, I’ve done thousand wrongs…
But for whom?
My child! You know not.

Or, perhaps you too are growing
Day by day,
And learning the ways of the world!

The world is full of wonders,
And me not amazed by thousand onslaughts,
The seers haven’t escaped, and who am I?

In the eons of ages,
We live for a moment,
And thousand wrongs I did to escape thousand deaths.

Why do you stare at me with such a demeaning look?
I’m not at fault for a single act,
I confide thee, my child.

And if you box my ears again,
And make me sit up and down,
Solitude I gain, and pass in mirth the residual days.

I promise you, my child,
Never do I wrong for the poor and the wretched,
And live by your side like a hermit for ages.

And praise the blue sky,
The green hills, and forests deep,
And the sun rise and sun down,
The starry night,
And the birds’ whisper
The swaying of the treetops,
And the diving of the fish,
The fraying clouds in a sea blue sky.

Or see we both
The velvety tea gardens,
Stretched miles after miles,
Glistening at noon,
And the painted rain trees,
And the white herons,
Flying lazily before a blazing sunset.

Or we both sit by the fire,
And make us warm with children of the gods,
In a lone winter night,
Under the canopy of sparkling stars.

Let us furrow the fields,
With the ploughmen.
Let us graze the cattle,
With the cow boys.
Let us mow the grass,
With the mowers.
And water the flowers,
With the wreathes-men.
Let us press the bee hives,
With the honey-men.

Never do I wrong for the poor and the wretched,
And live happily ever after by your side.

Once the house was lit

Once the house was lit
And party ran till midnight.

Men and women laughed,
And children giggled.

The lady of the house was a peerless beauty,
And before her gate men lined from sun rise.

The neighbours envied her charismatic look,
Graceful, gorgeous, sacred, forbidden.

The white painted house exuded
 An aura of warmth and enticement.

During festivals
Aromatic candles never died, and fragrance benumbed men.

The villagers whispered and moaned,
And sighed their lot.

Thus, a decade passed,
In light and laughter.


Then at one midnight a howling storm
Raged, and the candles went out.

Since then it lay in dark, barren
A wasteland it was.

Bats flapped at day,
And rats scampered at night.

Beautiful strangers never tarried,
And the doors, rickety and glasses shredded.

The house decayed,
And her bones were stiff, and walls rusted.

Men feared her savage look,
And mothers screened children while passing.

Thus, she lived her last days,
The flowers withered, candles died,
And the house corroded.

On a Sunday haat
           
On a Sunday haat
I’ve seen a girl
Sixteen or so,
Selling vegetables,
With a wow child on her lap,
Scrambling for breasts.

The girl dithers,
And fears the male eyes,
They aren’t her suitors,
All busy gentle clients,
Time is money,
And not a minute more they spare.

So, what’s the choice?
Some faces are known,
And many strange,
A festival day she calculates,
And looks sideways,
 And tears asunder the door of subsistence.

Beginning days were hard,
She was shy, and timid,
And knew not the ways of the bazaar,           
Day by day,
She counts coins,
And becomes bold.

So, she wars with lusty gazes,
 And thumps her baby
Under her sari,
And the child gropes and scrabbles
And sucks her mother,
And she flashes.

The scene is awful!

The scene is awful!
For miles tea gardens loll under the feathery clouds,
In an autumn noon.

Climb the hills, or swim the mazy streams,
Or smell the wild flowers, and hear the peacocks’ calls,
And waste a day with the autochthons.

They are poor,
They are black,
And they are far far away from the ‘civilized’.

They toil with the sun,
And slumber with the moon,
And lulls the children with tales strange to enlightened souls.

No grudge, no malice,
They bear, and when the heavy engines whistle away,
Shaking their huts, they wave their loved ones.

They moan not,
And why do they?
For thousand roots they nourish for thousand wounds!
Voices Within - Complete List of Poets :: Setu, January 2019

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