NO ACT OF MERCY GREATER THAN NON-VIOLENCE / Poem by Sudhakar Gaidhani

 
Poem by Sudhakar Gaidhani
 
 
NO ACT OF MERCY GREATER
THAN NON-VIOLENCE
 
‘’Where exactly will it drop
a wisp of perfumed cotton
flying with political winds –
can you tell, O royal bird?
O royal bird,
you can foresee a storm at some stage
but can you forelist those who the storm will ravage?
For years you have sat
on your habitual throne –
but does it mean you know
the art of government?
 
It’s easy to rule by terror –
hanging swords in city squares.
This works
as long as the people can be led
or else there are many here who
rise to sever their regent’s head,
 
***
There is so much fire still
in the kiln of their eyes
that no sooner do the rulers become oppressive
than will they reduce to ash
every dictatorial structure.
 
***
A war begins in the theatre of the mind
and body assaults body, toeing the line.
 
It’s a good rule never
to start a fight;
nor to show the back
when the enemy invites;
nor ever to wait
because in stitching war-garments
the tailor is late.
 
To take for war habits
the bark on the skin-
-such should be the warrior’s resolution.
And so should he lead a rally that
the prison itself is prisoned.
 
***
Friends,
there are people who,
when the nation rises to save its honour,
recline cosily, counting their losses and gains,
curious to know. “What next?”
With a “What is it to me?”
they brush aside the whole matter.
They not only deserve pity
but are victims of the consequences –
fools of the first water.
 
***
Hurry up, wash these wounds
on the earth’s heart,
lest it split into two –
because this planet is all
that we mortals have got
 
***
The land doesn’t move, it stays in place
yet men dispute over hand everywhere.
“It’s my land to that hedge”
“His starts from the stone” –
with such imaginary lines
they mark the land they own.
Think of the left arm and the right
dividing the body between them.
The quarrels over land seem
equally vain.
 
***
“Child, a tree doesn’t count
The wounds on it.
It spreads its shade
On the axe that makes a hit.
 
To him who never
Gave it water
It gives shelter
Without grudging a bit.
 
“Child, there is no act of love
As great as forgiveness.
No act of mercy greater
Than non-violence.
 
Stanzas From “Devdoot the angel” translated from Marathi into English by Prof. Dr. Om Biyani (India)
Published in India-1991
 

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