Poetry
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Bapa

What do I write on thee, words are at loss?

 

“Be a brave general and true servant”

And you “dedicated me to society”

It was ten, I remember I was then.

Never felt like asking you if that meant

I was going to be away from home and family.

 

Father, one lifetime is transient. Yours. And mine.

Not all your dreams will result, nor my immaturity.

Popular minds do not speak a tale, a tale of honesty

Stereotyping I did not know, for it was not thine.

 

No thought-control. No ideological pill.

You offered me from Gandhi to Lenin

A God who resides in hearts and yet one

I could defy, you said it matters little

 

“Be a brave general and true servant”

And you “dedicated me to society”

It was ten, I remember I was then.

Never felt like asking you if that meant

I was going to be away from home and family.

 

And I saw the reflections of a struggle

Did not shelter in cheap history-texts

Your convictions that led you to prison cells

Your service for folks, oh so, were humble

 

Struggle is within a framework

Of an individual conscience and society rebuttals

One who stands for a just social cause

Often gets pricked by personal upheavals

 

Did you ever bow down to the law then

For the good, people cause to them

For the children who they think only their own

And the families they reaped, they have sown.

 

Never saw you giving into compromise

Never saw you owning a piece-of-land

Never watched you beg for favours

In a world, oh so, full of opportunists.

 

“Be a brave general and true servant”

And you “dedicated me to society”

It was ten, I remember I was then.

Never felt like asking you if that meant

 

I was going to be away from home and family.

I always looked beyond you, your ideals

Your convictions, your judgments

To be a man of my own reasonings

A person of my own makings

 

And I see you there, in my own reflections

But my struggles I have not yet possibly made

I feel your presence when I emulate

But that humble human I never made

 

Its been already a tiring journey for me, father

To match up to life’s demands and society’s needs

A bunch of easy comforts I possess

To divert the compulsions, it so seems

 

They do not make humans like you anymore

I never thought I could live up, either

But one more promise I must make

Shall not disappoint you, I must offer

 

You do not represent this world to me

A society you had dedicated me

To be the general and the servant

Of the humankind that’s gone so insane

 

Gandhi and Lenin lost the relevance

Long back for this content generation

A future based on war psychoses

And present on dependence to misinformation

 

You are not of this world and yet you are here

How do you feel, to witness the tears

Of your own which hardly has stopped

Since dreams squashed, comrades nowhere

 

Hopes you have kept still alive

Orissamatters still up and running

One-man’s army or one-man’s service

General or servant, you got to live

 

I do not need to turn to cheap history-books

A real example I have in life of yours

Do not know the relevance of revolutions

Causing violence or preaching against nukes

 

In your sixties, you dream of a century

Of yet unborn and raring to arrive

What do we have to offer them, you ask

‘Future will not forgive us if we survive’

 

Do not take the guilt, you have done no wrong

Convictions you lived to, when people had to fall

Courage you translated, amidst feet of clay

Fearlessly stood firm, when others had to crawl

 

Lines of comrades nowhere to be heard

I have seen ‘em all reaffirming their pledge

‘A world of freedom we shall all co-sign’

I heard them tell you and it did not amaze

 

Years of your struggles have brought some change.

A sustainable process though has just gone deranged

Money and muscle making inroads to progress

Where definition of progress stand to be altered.

 

Amidst these all, you have stood on your own

Convictions shall maybe redefine themselves

But they shall not affect your struggle for a better world

Where ‘better’ shall mean not more but equal access

 

In words, nothing much are contained

‘Convictions’, ‘faiths’, ‘beliefs’ can be modified

‘Progress’, ‘thoughts’, ‘equality’ will mean different

In a world on ransom, war on the weak will be solidified

 

Long after the world will realize its follies

Long after the revolution by the hungry masses

Long after people would have got equal access

I shall know only one thing to have been the success

 

Success will be yours, of your noble thoughts

Of the honest actions in life, to pay what you owe

Socrates was forced to die in debt to this world

You shall never, you shall never, you shall never

 

You have been paying back in unequal terms

Benefiting us in more ways than we deserve

At least that’s the way we are more indebted

A purpose we have, to refund what’s served

 

You are doing your duties, father, for sure, we shall carry out ours

This future shall make no more recessions, no more submissions

Belonging to the world and calling its my only country

My journey has well-begun, and I am on your missions

 

– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet

Filed under: Poetry

by

Saswat Pattanayak is a radical journalist, blogger, poet, photographer, atheist, third-wave feminist, black power comrade, LGBTQIA ally, and an academic non-elite. Based in New York City, he hails from Tigiria, Orissa, India.

1 Comment

  1. Ranjan says

    An outstanding poet. I can feel the love deep in my hear.
    I can also link this blog with Orissamatters. Great job. Keep going until achieving your mission.

    Ranjan Kumar Sahoo

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