FROM A FRIEND IN INDIA:
poems by U Atreya Sarma from his recently published book Sunny Rain-n-Snow
U Atreya Sarma is a bilingual (Telegu and English) poet, editor and translator whose home base is Hyderabad, India.
Shalom! Shalom! Shalom!
Small, yet beautiful; tiny, yet mighty;
Very ancient, yet ultra-modern!
Forced to be centrifugal …
And two millennia later
Resolved to be centripetal!
Driven from pillar to post; dispersed hither and thither;
Scorned and ill-treated; pestered and persecuted –
Everywhere almost, and all the time!
All these long ages, they kept glued together
With national memories kept alive and aflame!
Gone out as a single colour, only to rebound
Barren… yet rendered verdant!
Very little water … but expo farming!
An almost dead language
Of a measly eight thousand words
Revived into a spoken one,
The diction going up fifteen times;
The efforts crowned in no time
With a Nobel for Literature!
They don’t blabber about patriotism
They act it, everyone a soldier!
An islet of grit and hard work
A liberal island in a fossilized sea!
Hardware or software or sciences
They are the undisputed leader!
Standard of life or of living
Patents or entrepreneurship
They are far, far ahead!
Highest educated, highest highly-educated,
In books of wisdom or weapons of defence,
They are awesomely strong –
In body, mind and soul!
Highest Nobel laurels – one hundred and sixty seven!
For a speck of a cast out and outcaste nation
Decimated in a holocaust!
Memory into a reality; mind over matter
Diffusion into effusion; divergence into convergence;
Adversity into prosperity!
And then ardent love of native faith
Yet leavened with freedom and equality
And a yearning for abiding peace and harmony.
Oh! How I admire you!
Oh, little, cute, wonder whiz-kid!
Shalom! Shalom! Shalom!
A tryst with the terrorist
“The terrorist began to speak...”
“How can a terrorist talk
The universe is for man alone; the strongest only reign here.
One thought only should do the rounds, in the world;
‘Sword is mightier than word;
A single sweep of sword puts my enemy down.
Anyway, words are damned duds;
I take my victims off guard,
(With double acrostic)
Eliminating, side by side, all reason and dialogue;
Reckless in deeds, hell-bent upon undoing all order;
Rearing their explosive heads all over like a meteor;
Only to impose their sadistic tyranny with frenzied aggro!
Reaction to terrorism, as Nature’s law, is bound to occur
In terms of eschatology, ‘Hells-where,’ if not on earthly loci.
Symphony of divergent notes, symbiotic existence of all beings,
My dear brothers, is the Divine Design, whatever be our (sch)ism!