The Stupa of Peace / Poem by Swapna Behera 

Poem by Swapna Behera 

 

The Stupa of Peace

Here stands the white damsel
Near the river Daya
The silhouette walls of it’s body
On the new moon day
Unhooking the blue sky
Uttering the enchanting
Mantra of everlasting peace
The Stupa ,a magician of the timeline of Kalinga
A memento. a crown on the Peace
The incarnation of History

The waves of river Daya
dazzled once with
blood ,anger , ruthless hatred, snobbery
Today it is calm
As calm as the sleeping baby in the mother’s lap
May be celebrating life
Peace is a war within

Once Ashoka, the great Maurayan Emperor
Blew the trumpet
Of Great Kalinga War
Raja Anantha Padmanabha, the king of Kalinga
Fought the war with all his valour
A violent ballad was written

The Daya river witnessed the aftermath
Millions wounded ; blood stamped death.
The cavalry, Infantry and war elephants died
In the dusk after the war -break..
An old lady taking the lamp in her hand moved around
Her desolate eyes searching the body of her only son
The only support of her last breathes
Long before she had lost her husband
And now, Oh no!
Here lies her flesh and blood
She cried and cried
Screamed to tear the sky and ether
In the war the arrow had pierced the body
Only the scattered loafs of the flesh on the grass
Here is the heap of bodies of both the parties
Mauryan and kalinga soldiers
Her son was in the infantry ,
like a galloping horse ;a brave Paika
Can run miles standing on the wooden silt
Thousands of bodies lying on the grass
Obeying the orders of their masters
Their blood oozing as the magma of a volcano
skulls opened , thighs divided
like the distributaries of a river
the chest bones broken ;
to show the dead triangles of palpitations
their benevolent service
they have rendered to the kings
little they enjoyed life or love
The old woman walking with slow steps
to get the dead body of her son’ for the last rituals
Can she ever leave her child lying on the sand
in those chilled nights?
She loves her only son
the only born from the sperm of her husband
everywhere splashes of blood
the water of river Daya , crimson red
She screamed in rage
the screech was a blast and echoed!!!
The birds flung their wings
shouted she “ hey ! you killer Ashoka
you killed millions to win the land
from Magadha to Kalinga
you won this Earth ,the soil the pebbles, the land
you have the non living goal
Alas! the poorest of the poor you are !
you could never win a single heart
a killer you are!!!
killer of today and tomorrow
Is this No-man’s zone your target ?
My tears are heavier than your sword”

“I am a mother , a creator
You are a king and killer
A king is a king of hearts
and not of blood and flesh
Now you got this barren land
No man ,no bride .no song,no lullaby
No tinkling of the bangles ,no marriage drums
Only the cacophony
You won this land of your choice “
Challenged The lady
to the Mauryan King Ashoka
You are a Chandala .a butcher
King Ashoka lamented …..ran to
Upagupta, the Buddhist saint
put the sword on the feet of the saint
closed his eyes
In deep regret enchanted
“I take refuge in Budha
I take refuge in Sangha
I take refuge in Dharma”
Inhaled peace,exhaled hatred;

The coronation of surrender was over
Crown and sword lying on the ground
Tears of repentance washed the sin
Chandashok turned into Dharmashoka
The war of Kalinga changed his mind
The victor accepted non Violence

Is peace a metaphor,a myth or an imagination?
Dhauli repies in silence; answers to all binaries.
The Chaityas ,the Stupas,Pillars of Dhauli
Writes the epitome of peace

Here stands Dhauli
A journey,a senryo
A hiku,a melody
a mantra,a formulae
an evidence,a memory
an invitation ,a crown
Peace thou art a celebration;
The resurrection ,the anthem of Civilisation

Dhauli sings love,peace and humanity
In the silent nights
As a white dove
spreads its wings on the hillock
Today,tomorrow and forever ……..

Copyright @Swapna Behera

Published in the Anthology World Poetry on Let There Be Peace :A Paradigm for Peace Strategies

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