Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan
Hour of Coming
Death does not come when you call him
However much you call, he never comes:
He comes only at his appointed hour -
Playing hide and seek, biding his time
Comes Death one day
all of a sudden!
When you are lying alone in your bed of rags,
With flies on your face and blood in nostrils,
Knees full of pus, boils under buttocks
With no one to say even 'Ah Dear! ' to you
With no strength left even to vomit things out
With eyes filled with tears mixed with pain
You cry out loud - Death! Death! O Death!
Can't bear it any more, Oh take me away Death! !
But never comes Death!
When you are perched alone in the middle of night
Under village banyan tree wrapped in a blanket
Looking at your younger brother's funeral pyre:
In the burning embers you see wife's dead face
remember playmates, school-friends, dead face
And cry out pressing your aching heart to chest -
Friends gone, kin gone, daughter gone to in-laws:
Why do you O Lord still keep me in this world!
You wish, if only
could just now
come Death! !
But never comes Death!
When you are relaxed supine in morning's warm bed
Pressing your radio close, listening to cricket:
India against Pakistan - ah, Final Match! !
Ten runs to win, and just another wicket:
Your daughter comes near and breaks the news
Son-in-law's promotion - ah, what a good news!
Playing in her lap little four-month old grandson
with soft pink little fingers fondles your beard:
'Oh dear one! my diamond one! my golden one, my little one!
Umhh... my remaining years be all yours, O lovely one....! '
You softly kiss your grandson's forehead -
Four runs to win:
Then comes Death!
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