The Work Enslaved Farmers - Poem by Rajendran Muthiah
They are slaves to their work in lands of a few acres
From sunrise to the sunset, eating gruels old or fresh.
Even when they have no coins in their hands
They don't hesitate to borrow money to build temples
And make offerings of various kinds
And sacrifice of animals to the gods around the village.
If a cat crosses their journey made to some end
They will cancel or postpone the proposed event.
If the dogs bark in the night, it meant the passing of thieves.
If the bulls cry cloud, it indicated the robbers kidnapping them.
Sighting an owl foretold the coming troubles.
The crowing of the rooks announced the arriving guests.
The call of the cocks woke them up to go to the farms.
Even the gods appeared in their dreams to warn of
The breaking bunds of the tanks with flooded waters.
Celebration of festivals with pomp and glory
Has no equal for them in that part of Tamil land.
The best flutists and drummers, folk dancers
And skilled artists of many arts make the occasion
A colourful and memorable one in life.
What a floral chariot they make for the dead ones
When they make their last journey to the graveyard.
It was a thrilling sight to see some brave men
Swimming across the flooded rivers
And taming the violent bulls at bull fights held.
There were adepts in wielding and swirling the bamboo sticks.
There were wrestlers and heavy stone lifters.i
Without receiving oracles and prophecies from the gods
They were not sowing the seeds and reaping the harvests.
With the failure of the monsoons aggravated their misery
And the wells without springs having gone dry
The untiring workers have become weak and lean.
Yet they don't lament over the misfortunes
As the fortunes are not far away from them.
In their prosperity they were not proud
And in their penury they shrouded not in gloom.
The untiring workers of the past are now oldies
Leaning on ther bamboo sticks, the third foot
Which gives them momentum to explore the path
To heaven which craves with open hearts
To embrace the voluntary slaves to work on the earth.
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