Bruised, but not Broken (poems)

-Challapalli Swarooparani 

8. Morning Star

Rising with the morning star Sweeping
darkness away with a broom
That girl draws patterns of brightness…
As she washes dishes
the sun rises from her beads of sweat.
Amidst the chirping of birds.

As she cleans everyone’s filth with her tender fingers
That wonderful sound brings forth sweet smells
As she makes disappear the accumulated dust in the veranda
All sounds step back
From those soft notes that spread fragrance.

A silent dream walks along with the girl
Dark clouds that gather behind colourful rainbows
Beautiful cat–and–mouse fights.

None of these exist in her little world ― Neither thoughts of cinema outings
Nor of picnics, beauty parlours
Come knocking at her heart’s door.

Beneath her coarse patched half-sari
Her heart beats for a handful of rice…
Even if every inch of the houses sparkles With the touch of her hand
To her master and mistress
She remains a ‘You’ ‘You’,
her name.

Even when the house is full
And yet nobody is willing to speak
The broom and dirty dishes
Remain her friends and wipe her tears…

Her eyes, unlined with kohl,
search desperately in the void for a spot of shade
In this world that spreads like a wide tree.

She descends from the heights of hope
But continues to flow
Amidst her mistress’s abuses
Her master’s ugly acts
A sad tune
That moves through the day
and enters the depths of the ocean.

(Telugu: “Veguchukka”, translated by Alladi Uma and M Sridhar, Dept. of English, University of Hyderabad and published in the Journal of the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 2005.)


(To be continued-)

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