War a hearts ravage-9

English Translation: P. Jayalakshmi & Bhargavi Rao

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


clap of thunderbolt.

Vibrating earth shudders.

Like wild sparrows dropping beaked grains

metal birds, sky’s sole occupants, maneuver.              

Blood bathed brooks

race down mountain passes.

From valley’s edge roll bone ranges–

spat, chewed remains of preying birds.

In desert pastures, 

corpses hanging by date palms,

throb still with life,

as cacti flowering gory heads.

Within harem interiors behind curtains

sorrow’s fiery flames flare open.

Caught in felonious fanged hold 

anonymous helpless living dead.

When pictures terrifying blood spattered 

scene after scene open

map across earth’s atlas,

as from mouth corners of a manslayer,

when human relationships strained 

like droplets of rain shower and

tears stream the heart;

when human values 

chameleon-like are ripped open;

entrails fragmented, twisting 

trace marks of woe;

as caskets of memory fly open, 

swords, bruised fingers tear open, 


writhes any mother’s heart in anguish, doesn’t it?

Images not unique to any two nations, 

displayed are they all over earth’s celluloid!

They are deepgone                          

even if want to discard.                             

Drenched wet in red-dyed rain

groping for a warm friendly shade,

devoured by fire of hatred             

distressed by anguish.

Taking red globule of earth in hands

nestle it in an embrace, offer it succor.

Since we are not arid of universal love

it is for us to shower 

ambrosial compassion on the world.

Life-breathing oxygen has evaporated 

it seems.

Air oppressive and stifling, 

torrid heat scorching life.                                         

Sound of metal boots’ trample

and mangled bodies.

Hidden inside camps are fury’s flames.

Behind screen, dry eyes, and forgotten tears.                                 

Like sacrificial firewood in 

Janamejaya’s sarpayaga, 

half-burnt mounds of bones in trenches.

Stench of charred remains wafts the air,

odor of death, offends breath, and

cacti flower blooms red.

Maneuvering in skyscapes

vultures sing tunes

praising spread of ghost empires.

An eagle in wait 

behind date palms for a chick.

Wild sparrows wait helpless

for grains to shower from above.

Mice peep out of their holes

to make face at the cat.

As if to soothe, wafer-thin fibrous clouds

under fury’s heat melt to tears.

From upland mountain table crevices

a bigot’s hardened feelings

wait to trickle liquefied

to stream and combine with tributaries   

to swell, to surge and tide over.                     

Mother’s heart lost right to breathing.

To the explosion of murderous missiles

her love athwart 

is falling as debris into her lap.

Despite hardened to stone,

eyes alive softly move. 

Helpless of spreading rays of empathy                     

confining to her heart itself,

running into penance behind encampments

waiting to breathe fresh air

at least before breathing her last,                          

grew into a motionless statuesque figure.

Before yawning light rays

rise blooming above high eastern fields,

throwing aside sheet of darkness,

eyes masked in fear all night long

wake to waking wet rangoli  in front yard.

As eyes pick letters from newspapers

tears vaporize to tramp through the world.


(To be continued-)

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