REMEMBRANCE - Poem by Mamang Dai
Why did we think it was trivial
that it would rain every summer,
that nights would be still with sleep
and that the green fern would uncurl
ceaselessly, by the roadside.
Why did we think survival was simple,
That river and field would stand forever
invulnerable, even to the dreams of strangers,
for we knew where the sun lay resting
in the folded silence of the hills.
This summer it rains more than ever.
The footfall of soldiers is drowned and scattered.
In the hidden exchange of news we hear
that weapons are multiplying in the forest.
The jungle is a big eater,
hiding terror in carnivorous green.
Why did we think gods would survive
deathless in memory,
in trees and stones and the sleep of babies;
now, when we close our eyes
and cease to believe, god dies.
For as long as remembrance
men stared at fire and water.
We dwell in the mountains and do not know
what the world hears about us.
Foragers for a destiny,
all the days of our lives
we stare at the outline of the hills,
lifting our eyes to the invincible sky.
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