ROCK, RIVER, RAIL

By Sonali Gupta

PROMPT — I will not rest until ...

Rock, River, Rail,

On thy dry red soil, O Mother!

And I would that my palm could feel

The bareness arises within.

O, well for the capitalist skin,

That he shouts at the voiceless labors at site!

O, well for the bureaucratic lad,

That he listen to Vividh Bharati in the rail on the way to bay of coffee house!

And the stately rails go on

To their nirvana under the mountains;

But O for the touch of vanishing lands,

And the motion of rivers that is still,

Over the graves of a thousand dusts!

Rock, River, Rail,

At the foot of thy banyan trunk, O Mother!

But the fresh breeze under the tree that is dead

The rock is nil,

The river is still,

And the rail goes over our lost woods, a unique drill.

Will never board the soul within!


Glossary:

Vividh Bharati- most popular government radio station of All India Radio.


Summary: This poem is based on the theme of 'Ulgulan'. The word Ulgulan means 'Great Tumult'. The rebellion sought to establish the rights of the indigenous people over their resources which were being snatched away from them by landlords and industrialists.

 

Sonali Gupta has currently completed a Master's degree from the Center for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. 'Rock, River, Rail' is a debut poetry of hers. Her area of interests are identity and its assertions, fading voices and the history of minorities, and natya shastra and the unheard voices of tribes. Sonali writes from the Gumla district, Jharkhand, India.