Freedom Poem by Jayanta Mahapatra


Rating: 2.7

At times, as I watch,
it seems as though my country's body
floats down somewhere on the river.

Left alone, I grow into
a half-disembodied bamboo,
its lower part sunk
into itself on the bank.

Here, old widows and dying men
cherish their freedom,
bowing time after time in obstinate prayers.

While children scream
with this desire for freedom
to transform the world
without even laying hands on it.

In my blindness, at times I fear
I'd wander back to either of them.
In order for me not to lose face,
it is necessary for me to be alone.

Not to meet the woman and her child
in that remote village in the hills
who never had even a little rice
for their one daily meal these fifty years.

And not to see the uncaught, bloodied light
of sunsets cling to the tall white columns
of Parliament House.

In the new temple man has built nearby,
the priest is the one who knows freedom,
while God hides in the dark like an alien.

And each day I keep looking for the light
shadows find excuses to keep.

Trying to find the only freedom I know,
the freedom of the body when it's alone.

The freedom of the silent shale, the moonless coal,
the beds of streams of the sleeping god.

I keep the ashes away,
try not to wear them on my forehead.

Tapan M. Saren 17 July 2017

Great poem. I enjoyed....

1 0 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 13 August 2016

Freedom as a poem is George Bernard Shawing taking swerves and sides in its own stride as did it the dramatist in a radio talk entitled Freedom wherein he questions who is but a freeman and what is it freedom? As Bernard Shaw describes natural slavery and human slavery so are the things here. Jayanta Mahapatra here clutches in the notion and reverie of freedom as existent in a child's dreams in the form of desire. The meaning and opinion varies it from context to context. The hungry people may not explain it. India became free in 1947, but what have they got? What have we done for the sake of freedom? Are we still free? Is the country free from hunger, illiteracy, superstition and poverty?

2 0 Reply
Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi 29 March 2012

Sir, I have painfully read your poem for the truth of our nation, until the last two lines. You are advised not to mess up with our religion any more in the name of secularism. Enough of slaughtering our Gods. The only factor that unites India is, the holy religion, other than this crucial factor, nothing else unites India..

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