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A Lament For Their Eyes

A Lament For Their Eyes

Poem By Shimanta Bhattacharyya

(For my ULFA brethren who are either dead, dying or will die)

They want to shut their eyes, they cannot
The red, lidless eyes gape like festering wounds
They are struck with a strange sickness
They are struck with the seeing sickness of the sky
The sky sees everything. The sky is one enormous eye
The sky never stops seeing. Seeing everything all at once
The eyes too can see everything. But only in patches
The sky sometimes weeps

The eyes do not weep, they cannot
The eyes have become clogged with excess salt
They cannot wash themselves clean like the sky
The eyes do not have the luxury of tears
The waters of the eyes have become locked in ice
Like subterranean cataracts in winter
The waters of the eyes have withered into a lake
A lake of frozen tears

The sun comes feeling for their eyes with pointed daggers
The moon comes feeling for their eyes with banderillas
The wind comes feeling for their eyes with grasping fingers
They cannot shut their eyes; they cannot shut their eyes
Last night they fished out a corpse from a pond
Its mouth was wide open. The eyes protruding like ping-pong balls
They say he cried a lot. Others say he died of seeing too much
Now he tastes death in his mouth and death stares through his eyes

The rain claws at the green skulls of violent memories
The air is moist with blood spewing from ransacked towns
A vulture slakes its thirst at fetid pools of submerged bones
In the distance clouds gather like poisonous mushrooms
The rice withdraws into the earth. A swathe of smoke
Covers the eyes of those who have come
To cremate their dead. Somewhere a girl tries to sing
But the song sticks in her throat like a knife

They want to shut their eyes, they cannot
They cannot shut their eyes in spite of the daggers
They cannot shut their eyes in spite of the knives
They cannot shut their eyes in spite of the guns
That seek out their pithless hearts with long fiery tongues
They are the fallen angels with wings like shards of electricity
They cannot shut their eyes, their eyes with their pierced dreams
Oh, if they shut their eyes the nightmares begin

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Comments (2)

Courage permeates every corner of this poem. Wonderful language.
good poem Shimanta; full of emotions


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