Jayanta Mahapatra

22 October 1928 - / Cuttack / India

Dhauli

Afterwards when the wars of Kalinga were over,
the fallow fields of Dhauli
hid the blood-spilt butchered bodies.

As the earth
burrowed into their dead hunger
with its mercilesss worms,
guided the foxes to their limp genitals.

Years later, the evening wind,
trembling the glazed waters of the River Daya,
keens in the rock edicts the vain word,
like the voiceless cicadas of night:

the measure of Ashoka's suffering
does not appear enough.
The place of his pain peers lamentably
from among the pains of the dead.
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