The Defeat

Poem By Sofiul Azam

for my father

The King saw his chiefs stand like the deaf
(brave sepoys stirred blood in their veins,
yet weapons fell down dead on the battlefield)
and watched their conspiracy of silence stage the defeat.

His face was smeared with mud of defeat;
no way out of enduring bits of derivative shame.
Nothing would have occurred if he'd split hair in anger,
for he'd known pretty well: no solace in the retreat.

Getting on board the boat on the snaky Bhagirathi;
burnt in the flames of hunger along with his family
he saw things as they are, for the first time in life;
then kedgeree to satisfy their hunger. Conspirators'

troop saw his royal slippers stuck in the mud,
and imprisoned him in the dark cell where no patch
of green was seen but only of hard rocks of the walls
and saw a bird flap its broken wings in the cage.

Endless yesterdays went afloat on his sad tears;
and torturing tomorrows wrecked havoc on his eyes
Then a dagger let his blood sluice out on the floor;
the defeat tells how the conspiracy moves full-steam.

Yet his death couldn't bring an end to more deaths.


from IMPASSE (2003)

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