Jayanta Mahapatra

22 October 1928 - / Cuttack / India


Every evening
the bells of the temple close by
rest their easy weight on the bones;
it's time again to wonder
what I'll do with what I learn.
A warm vapor rises
from the darkening earth like a hope.
Somewhere, inside a room,
a girl is dying in her mother's arms.
Elsewhere, someone
revenges himself for his broken life.
I look at people. At my little misery.
Beyond, at a jasmine's sad sweet smile.
Movement here has purpose:
It is not cold and tired.
The deer chasing the new growth of grass.
The drum thumping against the sky.
The woman with her knees drawn to her chest.
And the wind that deceives itself
it has tellingly carried the scream of the girl
who is dying in her mother's arms.
My knowledge and my time
fail to quiet to night
unlike the flutter of birds.
I try to wear this weight lightly.
But the weight of the unknown buries me.
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