Sunday Poem: Lover

Translated By Sailen Routray From the Odia Original By Akhila Nayak, Who Died On Nov 7, 2021

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Don’t call me a murderer;
for the whole of my life,
I have only loved.
I have learnt the arts of loving
from the hand that irrigates the gourds;
I have also learnt it
from the axe.
I have dragged the plow
with my own shoulders,
transplanted wisps of paddy,
weeded fields infested with leeches;
in fields of green leafy vegetables,
I have melted and poured myself
on to the thirsty tongues of the shoots;
yes, I have loved.
Now my measures are full;
my baskets overflow
with paddy and vegetables.
The trees stand tall
with their hands and legs
spread far and wide.
Now, I’ll light a fire and cook;
as my belly burns with hunger.
All love is meant for quenching hungers;
oh paddy plants,
friends,
brothers,
please do not call me
a murderer.
If needed,
even I
will reach your hungers
as broken grains of rice,
as dew,
as fire,
as breath.
Therefore,
please don’t call me
a murderer.

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