A Labour Day! - Poem by Seema joglekar
This empyreal, celestial bodies & the core, all a place assigned,
Mine lies in a wearied sunrise, crackling in a pool of sweat, cupped in my palms,
Like an obelisk, defiant heaving dawn from the elements,
Passing of my day, fathomed in the Sun’s shadow, moving across my length.//
No lofty notes sing my praise, with a catch in their heart,
No great affections fret their inattentions or miss their embrace,
In penury my sweat reigns; intimidations &wretchedness, all on me are in vain.
Your skyscraping cathedrals were once putty in my hands, thrown into your windowpane//
Alpha &Omega of my life, bejeweled with the non-material Tiara of undiluted sweat,
Where my hands had’nt reached it hastened darkness;
Sweat Talk; --
I embark on my great journey; I am sweat, talisman of the diligent,
Trickling beads across his forehead & chin, fat shining,
Hoodwinked by pimp time, ran into bricks that went to build your house.
Faithfully waiting for him around the corners, during his work pauses,
I have felt the cellar chills, as sepulchral as a church confession,
Flowing down his side locks, lingering in my path, patient.//
Each dropp joining the other in tacit conspiracy,
My journey’s intricate masonry, surpasses the bricks laid in a missionary,
Then ran in thick oily snakes, as if underwater, back into his hair,
Bundling away all that your technology couldn’t ensnare.
Scaling jaw-dropping heights for your gasp of fresh air,
Running into his eyes faster than he could wipe away,
Only I dare to stand at the edge of this precipice &peep,
All your wealth wouldn’t allow you to enter this water knee-deep.
Always smelt of the first touch of rain on mud, -a deodorant,
More fragrant than your cultivated flowers, rewards of honest effort,
Severing ties with the heat, taking asylum in the mane of his neck,
Then in his collars I settle, making way for sweet home-coming.//
Down from his arm-pits I ran, slide carrying your dark load,
With my armloads deposited prosperity at your threshold
As life forces rose & sank to the dreadful tides of rigour,
for a mere day’s wages, lost in time against the horizon, a lone figure.//
I may not outlive the bleached marble or the weather –beaten monuments,
But shall shine in the unwept stone more bright than it’s teary contents,
Sometimes curved &made my way back on his knitted eyebrows,
Have become a cardinal piece on your chaotic chessboard of nonchalance.//
With the touch of my hand see a nation rise,
As I percolate into his rolled –up sleeves,
where hidden lie with his meagre savings, always armed,
With full knowledge of one’s purpose ; traveling
a short journey covered everyday, . between wish& fulfillment.
When the shovel hits mud, between the clank of metal &the glow of mud
all doubts resolved, everything else falls away in the light of one arc,
in that one moment, I (sweat) stand in a stupor, full of awe!
The void bridged between the spirit & body, a feel of low animal joy
That only a tired body would know at the end of the day-there I lie.
Government has fixed my price, a day’s daily wage,
That doesn’t count the tired wrinkles beyond my age,
But I have braved the sun &all its elements, I surely am underpaid.
Yet, only I get to live as God intended Mankind,
Than sit on his fat haunches, to live by the sweat of his brow
* For all those who live by the sweat of their brow!
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