This Field is not Mine

This field is not mine
yet each year when the yellow paddy’s out
and the deserted patch, with stubble all over its face
is left to lie in Agrahan’s yellow sun …
what’s hurting me?
Why should I dream the valley
dreams a lost river, even now today?

A barefoot teenage boy, hoe in his hand
and a sack on his back, treads his way over –
so often he crossed, re-crossed it, still I see him
as now he watches a daredevil throng of sparrows
light on the paddy, off plundering
in perfect innocence …
at that time I had no idea
of the sky’s own hidden hurt
behind the clouds, the herons’ wings …

A tractor growls and tears apart
this field, its neighbour too …
I spot the farmer’s motorbike
at field’s edge, leaning aslant …

Even today in my heart
the vision of a ploughman’s whip
lashing an old buffalo’s back
lives on, stays awake …

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