05.10.10

SOLILOQUY OF THE MAN WALKING TO THE GALLOWS

Posted in Society at 4:01 pm by Pirate Praveen

SOLILOQUY OF THE MAN WALKING TO THE GALLOWS

K.Satchidanandan

 

Look at me walking to the gallows:

In ten minutes, my dreamles head

will be severed from my desireless body.

 

I have listened to my victim’s blood

scream for my love.

I have longed to kneel

to his family and friends,

longed to weep hugging

the mango trees on his courtyard,

to roll in that sand and ask for

mother earth’s pardon

 

Then I would return to

the half-eaten fruit and

the half-sung song,

to the half-built house

and the half-read book,

to the half- loved love and

the half- lived life.

I would cross the river

to be at the festival in the temple,

cross the hill to be

at the church for Christmas.

I would board the crowded bus

to go to town and tell my friends,

‘Look, I have come.’

 

I had longed to see my daughter

grow up into a free woman,

my son into a man who can weep.

 

I had more dreams than memories

like a flame-of-the-forest in summer

with more flowers than leaves.

 

I am no Sheharazade who can

postpone death telling tales.

The tree of tales has shed its leaves

To become  this gnarled tree of death.

 

They asked me if I had a last wish.

I didn’t tell them I wanted to be

a hare, its ears aloft on the meadow,

a squirrel talking from the jackfruit  tree,

a bird held on a rainbow,the river

of posterity and the spring wind.

 

The sweet they offered me was bitter , like death,

a bitterness with a cat’s eyes

that will survive the gallows.

 

Tell me law -givers,

tell me, judges of men,

don’t you regret this sentence

that renders even regret redundant?

What is the distance

from the hot logic of homicide

to the cold logic of hanging?

 

I leave the questions on the ever green earth

and  go along this worn passage

weary  with the blood

of the guity and the guiltless,

of murderers and martyrs.

Let none have to tread this path tomorrow.

Let there be

T-o-m-o-r-r-o-w.

 

( Translated from the Malayalam by the poet )

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