Bruised, but not Broken (poems)

-Challapalli Swarooparani 

18. Child Sacs

Leading a hand-to-mouth
life The day before
yesterday We sold our
Yesterday we pawned the pitcher and winnowing pan.

For a gulp of gruel we sold
The blood in our body
Our kidneys, for a handful of space
We pawn our hearts every day.

What else do we have to sell, Master?
That’s why
We sell motherly love by the kilo
For a morsel of food.

Like you do
We don’t have nations of our own
To en-cash on an emergency basis
Pledge in big, big banks.

The emaciated lives of
Cotton farmers and handloom workers ―
We have not even these, nothing
Except the raw female fruits of our womb
We have nothing to sell, Master.

Cotton farmers who bore
Bundles of affliction on your head
Trusting ineffectual seeds
Lambadi mothers
Who got ready your motherhood
To sell in international markets
Come on!

There is now
A novel economic policy
Specially for us
Now we have nothing to do with
Profits and subsidies
No sacks of money
It is enough if we have
Fertile ‘child’ sacs
That bloom tender buds
And become grains of rice
Even as we cradle infants
At our breasts.
God! Save our ‘child’ sacs.

(Telugu: “Bidda Sanchulu”, translated by Prof. G. Sheela Swarupa Rani, Dept. of English, Sri Padmavathi Mahila Viswavidyalayam and published in Mankenapoovu, an anthology of poems by the author, 2005.)


(To be continued-)

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