Malsawmi Jacob, INDIA


They caught us in their nets
shut us up in cages
sealed our beaks
clipped our wings
all for a good cause
the good of motherland!

In the dark a rumour
whispered in the breeze –
‘Now the night is ending
a new day is dawning
the liberator will come
he will break our cages
he will set us free
to sing and to soar
if we wish
if we wish.’


She was an angel bright
with multi-coloured wings
roaming at will beneath the sun

The men in black in white in saffron
could not endure her freedom
huddled and hatched dark plots
to shackle her for good

They loaded burdens on her shoulders
that bent her double
tied her to a grinding stone
going round and round and round
she must look down she must not rest
must never use her head
she must not think she must not dream
only do what she’s told.

Then ah, she heard a voice one day
the Voice of Reason clear –
 “Wake up! Rise up! You’re created
for life for joy for love!”

Laughing she stands, her burdens fall
she flaps her wings to fly again. 


He said “Come with me”
so, I bid goodbye
to the rose garden
blooming white pink and red
followed him to sandy land
where prickly plants grow
and no bird sings

Yearning for music
I hummed a tune
in a trembling voice

He smiled, held my hand
led me up a hillside
green with summer grass
set me down on a rock
coaxed me to sing  

I opened my mouth
a song poured out

Eyes bright with delight
he pointed up the hill saying
“Let’s head for the top
there you will find
a rose garden
lovelier than the one
you left behind”

Thus, the trek began. 

Malsawmi Jacob is a bi-lingual poet, writer and occasional translator between Mizo language and English. She has published nine books in different genres – 2 books of poems, 2 short stories, 2 children’s fiction, 2 narrative non-fiction and 1 novel. Her novel Zorami A redemption song is prescribed for post graduate course in two university campuses and widely used by research scholars. Malsawmi has worked in different cities in the country: taught English to degree students in Aizawl and Bangalore, was coordinator with SPARROW (Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women) in Mumbai, and freelanced as a journalist with newspapers and magazines in Guwahati. She now lives in Bangalore.

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