Poetry

‘Two Women –Separated in Space and Time’ and ‘The Sunflower’

By: Supatra Sen

Two Women –Separated in Space and Time

She would read the newspaper
In the quiet afternoons
After the entire household of twenty three
Would be fed and attended
Married at nine and mother at sixteen
Schooled by experience, taught by life
Ensuring that each did
What they were supposed to
In office, school, college, chamber, court
In the evening she would be kneading flour
Making tea…thus ushering them all
With their lives and work
And this for some fifty something years…daily

Another…living far from the city and crowds
Grazed cattle, fed birds and toiled in fields
Listened to news headlines
Broken words wafting
From the wealthy neighbour’s television
Keeping track of the weather, of disease
And political turmoil
All to keep her kin intact
To keep the seeds sowing, reaping a harvest
Tending the flocks, watering the plants
Unfailing…unfaltering

Unsung warriors…Both

“Where are you, where on earth…I want…”
The frail voice drawled on
No answer
Cries, wails, complaints and more
No reply…still
The story of the aged
And the not so aged

An hour or more
The childless daughter arrives breathless, panting
Duties done, but some remained
The dead remembered
The living waiting
The old must not be reminded
Of the dear departed
“Where have you been !!!”
“Old friends called up
That takes time, you know”
The instantaneous defense

“What about me !! I want…”
“Yes, I was here all the while
A part of me, I’ve left with you
Since birth, Ma…”
The words echoed within
Unspoken…unpronounced
She looked into those tired feeble eyes
“As you have left behind in me
A part of your being”

Mothers – Both…
In roles and duty

The day was sacred ‘Mahalaya’
Time to remember the forebears
And the descent of the Divine Mother…

###

The Sunflower

Often they would meet
Some chance encounters,
Others a little planned –
Sometimes between work,
The library, at the computer
Or even the canteen or the railway station.
A shy smile, a gentle nod
Words unspoken – thoughts shared
As the flute played on magical notes
And the sunflowers along the railway platform
Remained silent witnesses.

Each day their story grew
A dimension added.

He was to travel to a distant land
And she was to wait.
The eternal wait
That likes of her have known always…

Vibrant memories flood –
The cherished moments,
The pain, triumphs, the unfulfillment…

He returns– a changed man
A million centuries of separation…
Across another time
Of emptiness and void.

Her world has lost its charm
The books lie covered with dust
Of a thousand years
The flute plays on…ever haunting

Only the sunflowers along the railway platform
Remain….perhaps to wait
Wait for a lifetime
Or even beyond…

Categories: Poetry

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