Ramakanta Rath

(13 December 1934 - / Cuttack, Orissa / India)

Murder On The Agenda - Poem by Ramakanta Rath

I know there is blood on my hands.
I further know my hands will be stained
with much further blood.
But to stand amidst the crowd
and throw bouquets on tyrants
was not my intention of coming here.

They will die someday. So will I.
And therefore, the restlessness of the night of unceasing rains
instills its wildness
into each of my days and each of my nights.
My life, clearly, is contingent on their death.
I shall no doubt die of the shame
of continuing to live unless they die quickly.

Unless they die quickly,
how shall I explain to the moon
the reason why my laughter has become a grimace ?
How shall I explain to that faraway woman
the reason why I turned into a stone?

If they kill me, they will surely manufacture a legend
to prove to people
that my death had become so necessary
that, as soon as I fell, voices in the sky
spoke, loudly and clearly,
their thanksgiving for the assasins.
Whether people believe them or do not
is for them an irrelevant matter.
They have never cared to understand
why citizens of this country pray everyday
that this life of theirs should be the very last
on this planet.

If, on the contrary, I kill them
it will be unnecessary to think up a story.
Even their own widows, in the course of their lament,
will never, never incite their children
to avenge the murder of their fathers.

And as soon as they die, I too shall go away.
But where? I have absolutely no idea.
Maybe that woman's face would lead me on like a star
to some place where the sword I had carried
to kill myself
would at once begin preparing itself
for someone else's murder.

[Translated by the poet]

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012



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