Tag Archives: aches

“They”

 

They say

I didn’t fight enough

They don’t know

How my body aches

How my body has

Lost the feeling to

Feel the pain.

 

They say

I didn’t raise my voice enough

They don’t know

How my throat itches

How my voice has

Completely lost the feeling to

Feel the voice.

 

They say

I did not repulse

I did not revolt

They say the fault

Is mine.

 

I can’t blame anyone

They say

That I was wrong

And they were right

They were strong

And I was weak.

 

They say

My demeanor should be composed

My anger should be subsumed

They say

It is not a big thing

It is just a passing fling.

 

They say

I am the devil

I am my own fall

They say

I am the ill

I am the cause.

 

They say

I didn’t fight enough

They say

I didn’t raise my voice enough

They don’t know

My lungs gave way

Screaming into void

They don’t know

That my armor

Rests in peace

Fighting for my life.

Yet they say

I didn’t revolt

Yet they say

I was wrong and they

Were strong

They don’t know

That my blood

Distanced itself from my heart

They don’t know

That my soul embittered

On my body.

 

These “they”

Who are they?

Who are they

To make me the evil

Who are they

To judge me

For being the devil?

 

They don’t know me

Let alone my soul

They can’t judge me

Unless they can tell me

That they have fought

More than me

That they have

Screamed

Longer than me.

 

They don’t know me

They don’t know my battle

And yet,

“They” say….

 

*

I still refrain to even believe in my rarest imaginations that I am anywhere near being a poet, despite all your comments on my previous posts. So, again I call this a vain attempt to try and write in as limited words as possible, and to express as far and as truthfully I can.

Re-visiting; Re-reading.

I read this following poem time and again, very often, so often that by now I have most of the lines by heart and yet I do not get enough of it.

How can I? Because every time I read this, it gives me, well I won’t say new insight but the very same old feelings that I live with. The feelings are always there, they are ever present, only they come out or I let them come out not too often. These are the feelings I live with, most women live with.

Though there are some days when they flow so rapidly that I fail to control them, or give them a direction and on those days, I read, I read anything, and everything, I read poems, novels, stories, plays. I read this poem all over again.

Today is one such day, and I will share this once again. Because, I am flowing, I am hurting, I am smiling, because it’s all mine, because I am I.

An Introduction. 

I don’t know politics but I know the names
Of those in power, and can repeat them like
Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru.
I am Indian, very brown, born inMalabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
Don’t write in English, they said, English is
Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave
Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
Any language I like? The language I speak,
Becomes mine, its distortions, its queernesses
All mine, mine alone.
It is half English, halfIndian, funny perhaps, but it is honest,
It is as human as I am human, don’t
You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my
Hopes, and it is useful to me as cawing
Is to crows or roaring to the lions, it
Is human speech, the speech of the mind that is
Here and not there, a mind that sees and hears and
Is aware. Not the deaf, blind speech
Of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the
Incoherent mutterings of the blazing
Funeral pyre. I was child, and later they
Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs
Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair.
WhenI asked for love, not knowing what else to ask
For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the
Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me
But my sad woman-body felt so beaten.
The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me.
I shrank Pitifully.
Then … I wore a shirt and my
Brother’s trousers, cut my hair short and ignored
My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl
Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook,
Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh,
Belong, cried the categorizers. Don’t sit
On walls or peep in through our lace-draped windows.
Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or, better
Still, be Madhavikutty. It is time to
Choose a name, a role. Don’t play pretending games.
Don’t play at schizophrenia or be a
Nympho. Don’t cry embarrassingly loud when
Jilted in love … I met a man, loved him. Call
Him not by any name, he is every man
Who wants. a woman, just as I am every
Woman who seeks love. In him . . . the hungry haste
Of rivers, in me . . . the oceans’ tireless
Waiting. Who are you, I ask each and everyone,
The answer is, it is I. Anywhere and,
Everywhere, I see the one who calls himself I
In this world, he is tightly packed like the
Sword in its sheath. It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.

Kamala Das.