Wednesday, July 9, 2014

To Be or Not To Be Born:L.S.Rokade


To Be or Not To Be Born

Mother, you used to tell me
When I was born
Your labour was very long.
The reason for your long labour:
I, still in your womb, was wondering
Do I want to be born-
Do I want to be born at all
in this land?
Where all paths raced horizonwards
But to me were barred
All of you lay, eyes fixed on the sky
Then shut them, saying
Calmly, yes,
The sky has a prop, a prop!
Your body covered
With generations of dire poverty
Your head pillowed
On constant need
You slept at night
And in the day you writhed
With empty fists tied to your breast!
Here you are not supposed to say
That every human being comes
From the union of man and woman
Here, nobody dare
Broaden the beaten track.
You ran round and round yourself
Exclaiming YES, of course
The earth is round, is round.
Mother, this is your land
Flowing with water
Rivers break their banks
Lakes brim over
And you, one of the human race
Must shed blood
Struggle and strike
For a palmful of water.
I spit on this great civilization
Is this land yours, mother,
Because you were born here?
Is it mine
Because I was born to you?
Must I call this great land mine
Love it
Sing its glory?
Sorry, mother, but truth to tell
I must confess I wondered
Should I be born
Should I be born into this land?

Translated by Shanta Gokhale

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