War a hearts ravage-5

English Translation: P. Jayalakshmi & Bhargavi Rao

Telugu Original : “Yuddham oka Gunde Kotha” by Seela Subhadra Devi

Situations devious                                

relentlessly surround us.

Time to bring out truth and untruth

cause for motivated and unmotivated action.

Somebody must help to disrupt

conditions which interrupt

mankind’s peaceful living,

her mind’s enlightenment, and

her enduring preserve of values.

If war is an answer to war 

then first war begins at home.

For once, flip

through pages of history–

how much blood stained which page

which bloodstain points to which religion;

how many paragraphs when pressed 

scatter how many lost lives.

It’s nothing new.


review history, new lessons added.          

Every war a cover for despotism,

every strategy a backstab

every promise repeated of world peace;

a gradual stamping out of nations

under metal boots.

Would eat fire even for personal gain

stacking nuclear stock pile in stealth

to display an empty hand.

Caught unawares 

instruct new lessons on morality.

Pages of history not enough, here,    

to account for everyone’s honesty.

On canvas of women‘s hearts

begins real war

where tearful thoughts are penned!

Wherever war is fought,

Don’t women-victims alone, 

with their cohort-consort train

leap to watery well’s death,

resort to selves’ immolations on funeral pyres,

torch inner courts, bear fourth degree tortures                 

behind closed closet doors?

From pages of history leap out

such tales of woe                       

as slag from ore!

Must erect victory columns

upon royal bastions wrecked, 

in business houses battered, 

on wrack and ruin of edifices, 

among funeral-flaming pyres, or

on festering bone-heaps!


take books on history, Puranas and Ithihasas 

dust, turn every leaf over in mother’s lap

or else

petty kingships’ wicked intrigues

as truths in history hidden,

as dust deposits of ash,

will blow into face and eyes

leaving no history to dip head in


Under war clouds 

innocent orphans forlorn —

retarded buds unblown —

skyward, with hope fasten eye sepals  

to spot peace pigeons

who fall to earth tired.

Cloaking selves with fear streaks

fanned by vulture-wings,

cries knotting in throat

like fear-struck rodents holed up,

dry, weathered and wasted infant joys       

on thorn-thickets of war.

Battle-battered terrain alone

Becomes, then, maternal lap

to shelter in her womb.

At an age of lisping 

become an armed armoury. 

At an age of nestling in mother’s lap,

seek bare death’s hug surging forward;

marble-play with grenades,

hide and seek with bombs behind stone heaps.

Alas! It’s an everyday fare.

Weeping wails of orphan’d

stay stuck knotted in throat.

Behind which ‘parda’

beyond their hearing,

has their mother melted away?  

In which earthy depths

are comforting fingers

lay buried mutilated?

Under which debris is

fellow feeling entombed,

where even a mother and sister

are regular strangers,

their affection-laden clasps,

blessings hidden under faded curtains?

On every roof top fly war tunes’ flags, and

mind-meadows, overgrown brush-wood brakes.

Now and then stirring up pity’s tear drops 

helpless, fall, failing to wet the heart athirst.

Right-wrong calculations uncounted

stop between fingers short,                                       

remain between lips unarticulated

shattering human values.

As death’s shadow embraces human frame,

skyward turn telescoped eyes 

with bated breath expecting

a mahatma to descend from some alien planet.

A bird-shadow even

passes as a bomber through the body.

A mother in fear’s hold,

even as she sees sons off for battle,            

rains blessings through her tear shield.

Skeptical of their return alive

Keeps alive memory 

through pictures caught by heart’s camera.

Does one need

a blood bathed battle field

for heroic death? 

Death missing his course,

as a kalasarpa,

may even strike entering 

sun-screened secure chambers

of one’s home. 


(To be continued-)

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