Poem by Sudhakar Gaidhani
‘’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.
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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