Not translated. Written originally in the English by the author, a native Naga speaker.
It’s my turn at the water point:
The trickle is slower today
Each day, slower,
One day, it may stop;
And my field has withered,
Rusted-dry in the staring sun,
The crevices filling with dust.
Tin buckets clash behind me
And a loud voice roughly bawls
“Don’t fill that bucket full!
Fool – don’t you know you’ll slop?”
I withdraw, abashed. It’s true:
I mustn’t spill a precious drop
Not even as a libation
To the gloating sun.
I saw a young man gunned down
As I shopped in the market place.
Two thick thuds, and then he fell,
And thrashed a bit, on his face.
That’s all. He sprawled in the staring sun.
(They whirled away in a cloud of dust
In a smart white van.)
His blood laid the dust
In a scarlet little shower,
Scarlet little flowers.
In the staring sun, the little flowers
Will burn and turn to rust.
I stumble home through arid fields
My furtive footsteps hushed by dust.
I scan the sky – hard, limpid, deep –
O pure and high is heaven’s sky!
Is there no shade for me? I weep
To hide from the glaring eye of heaven.
(Cain, my brother Cain!
I know your fear, your guilt, your pain –
I too have now a brother slain,
I too am sealed with the scarlet stain!)
My ink has crusted in my pen
And in my heart – the dust.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 93: PEACHSUBMIT to L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIICOMING SOON with C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
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