MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Eagle Landing by Albert Rollins

Poetry


The Lamenter

Barnali Saha

The fire of death burns in me
Like blossoms of spring filling the heavens
My battered life, dry as the soil yonder
Pledged to mourn his blissful slumber
In my tears his heart will relive
In my whines his spirit will resuscitate
For I am the mourning woman
The master of the art of death
There he sleeps in his jasmine bed
While the incense burns at his feet
People with numb eyes stare at me
As if silently waiting for me to weep
A drop of tear is the sweetest tune
Sweeter than all a harp could play
I stare at him my eyes still dry
Trying to sing the hymn of death
The silent conversation continues
As I unveil my face of pain
Unheard, unseen, disheveled thoughts
That lie buried under the old gray veins
The steadfast twinge that had swelled over time
By the intricate fabric that caste weaved
Forever subservient a stumpy lady should be
Casteless, soulless, a sack of waste
The aqueous memories flash before me
Of downtrodden history and passionless woes
My body shuddered at the cruel fangs
That they had used to mutilate me
Their clinching teeth bowed me down
And all I did was sit and see
Now I am at their feet again
My drooping eyes trickling pain
The colorless gaze of my stifled body
Oozing tears at the hierarchy´s death
I wish I could curse him and rise
And destroy all mortal walls of social order
But nay I am but a simple soul
One that rests on their disorder
The warm blood wells my eyes
Thunderous desire thuds in my heart
I sway my body and wave my arms
For the pittance of grain and fodder
The audience nods with wistful glee
Enjoying the drama I present
Coward souls savoring grief
That in their regal amplitude is absent
My fathomless anguish scatters and howls
With his spirit it aspires to heaven
In his loss I live my life; in my eyes he breathes death.

Note: Rudali is a social practice of public mourning at the death of an upper caste male. Such a cultural practice is still prevalent in several rural areas of India. The female mourners that are hired are generally downtrodden women hailing from the lower strata of society.

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