To A Mother
Ever-patient, bereft of all, Mother Mine!
Never didst thou take anybody to task,
Nor find fault with any. Sitting on the
Shore of an ocean of grief dost thou
weep alone a silent daughter of Earth,
It seems as if thou, a timid girl of
a different village, hast lost thy way,
and art questioning thyself, ' Where am
I now? ' From far afar the stars
call thee, as if thou art their run-away
girl come here through mistake along
the Milky way. Thou dost seem oppressed
by the two-fold tyranny of social custom
and its violation. Yet in thy eyes and
face sparkles one sad question:
'Why do they tyrannize? Who are they?
Whence is this sorrow and grief and pain?
They are not known to thee, O Mother,
O Daughter of Paradise! So thou
dost put up with everything, without
murmur and revolt - Incense
is burnt by fire - but incense doth not know it.
From remote places come many boys
and girls, they forget their games as they
look at thy face, and say, ' Wilt thou
be my mother? ' I know not what
arises in thy mind and thou dost press
each on thy bosom, toy eyes become filled
with the tears of a mother. It
seems thou dost know all of them and
they all know thee. They seem to be
vagrant travellers from thy own homeland
on a visit as sojourners to this earth.
They will depart after clasping thy neck
with their hands and saying simply, '
My Mother! '
Perhaps thou hast forgotten, Mother!
that once came to thee travelling like
this a Beduin Child of the desert
In a tired voice, clasping thy neck
he said, 'Wilt thou be my mother? '
Perhaps he came if thou dost remember
so, Perhaps he came not if thy memory
The rebel who left
will not return. Perhaps in thy breast
is his sepulchre, solemn and silent,
or he is not there. Many such things we
get, many we lose! Ever-patient Daughter!
Mother, bereft of all! Never is mother or
God bereft of anything. Perhaps this
Memorial, 'bereft of all', is of those
Who have returned to the lone breast!
(Original:'Ma' a dedication to Birojashundori Devi)
[Translation: Abdul Hakim]