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Mohenjodaro Reviisited

I.
You are not dead Why do they call you Mohen-jo-daro, “ Mounds-of-the-Dead”? You are not dead! You have never been dead Or buried Or cremated By the scorching banks of the Sindhu; Historians have conspired against you A thousand and one tales Have besmirched your name Misguided fools have imagined Your obituary to be true; Sentimental fools have sung elegies By their own graves Garlanded their own biers, Cursed the stars and howled at the heavens Self-piteous tears, in the hope That some part of their practiced grief would be remembered As poetry, A fitting tribute to your eternal face; Maybe, they would be able to, by their ululations, Raise demons from the earth Or bring forth spectres From darkest shadows of the thinnest air, precipitating Some prophecy, nameless and foreboding, a small Tin medal on their pathetic breasts, Stark in their hunger for inspired flights; Other dust should fashion other jars, not having the consistency Of ours.
It has been foretold that you will not die That you will not die thus, at the behest of historians Or for the research of archaeologists Or even the yapping lap-dogs Aping the tawny shades of our leonine skins; It has been foretold, And we are witnesses to you survival.
II.
Priest-Kings and dancing girls The sands have shifted, As the river has--- You are only abandoned, “Mound-abandoned-and-shifted”.
Take heart! Be not sad, The sons of Sindhu are around you; You cannot die while your sons live, While the children of the river still ply their wide boats On your consort’s undulating breast; While your daughters carry their vessels Fashioned from your clay; In every face, you are alive.
In the mien of priest-kings who have renounced Their crowns and pulpits for lives of love and freedom— At Bhit Shah, they sing your songs; At Sehwan, they celebrate your being; In every prayer and call to prayer you are revealed Rising gradually towards the heights of Kirthar Rolling ceaselessly over the sands of Kutch With every partridge crooning in the cotton, With every mallard winging over Manchar, You come forth— The Breaker-of-the-Shackles-of-Tyranny The-Keeper-of-the-Honour-of-Dancing –girls Friend-of-the-Imprisoned-Hari Last-Flower-amidst-the-Thorns-of-Despair! You are the yellow turmeric staining the red ajrak Of our wounds Anointing your martyrs Healing your casualties Soothing us with your whispered lullaby Such as our mothers used to sing us In our cradles From the earliest dawn of creation; Even now, your humped oxen plod home in the evening Of their tillage; Every day I hear the rise and fall of your undeciphered script In the cadences of children In the chattering of women In the murmur of lovers In the gestures of old men In the anger of the young.
III.
A Dream Untold It was said, long ago, that you will not die That forever you will live in the eyes of every child, That you will rise from your gargantuan sleep, Arise, woken by the winds! When the Eastern Gates of your citadel are opened wide All wars will cease Your sons will no longer flinch under the lash, Your daughters will no longer be distraught, The pillars of fire and smoke will settle down And the silent waste-lands speak with voices of prophecy; When precious stones will once again etch the bright circumference Of your ruins And the heavens shake themselves into fleeting shapes, Vain and irresolute constellations plunge Into narrow circles of despair— It has been said that you will flourish again, When the crashing shores Of sea and river Melt into each other When waves shiver Into the rock’s embrace.
Then I, too, shall awaken, I trust, And behold you in your truth.
------------ * (c) Omer Tarin.
Pub ''The Glasgow Seeker'', UK, 2005

Poem by Omer Tarin
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