23 April, 2024


When Memory Lives

By Mahendran Thiruvarangan –

 Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Hushed faces, benumbed and betrayed,

many a wrinkle, many a scar,

many a story must they be mumbling,

spoke my researchy voice in a foreign tongue.


A pair of worn-out feet stumble into a hovel,

a tiny one and a thatched roof atop;

somewhere stood a smoldering lamp,

darkening the dumb gods on the dust-ridden shelf.


Behind the heavenly portraits lurks a framed figure,

stiff and smile-less in a striped uniform;

the valiant neck drops

thousands’ freedom into a single capsule,

and on a shoulder hangs

a gun that foes and friends feared alike.


The ageing fingers grope for an umbilical secret;

behind Shiva’s son,

a hidden son,

a fallen martyr in a freedom-quest,

in a homeland cleansed

of traitors, prostitutes and Allah’s children.


As the proscribed portrait awaits

the mourning cry of motherly memory,

in another land, another world,

where jubilant monks make holy laws,

and famished men are fed in plenty

with the sweet wines of a bubbly nation,

trumpets sound and children sing,

towering flags flutter in the winds,

a beaming King walks in majesty,

and newspapers re-craft a loss-less victory.


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