Humanity in Search of Itself

When in the night
even the great eyes of the sun
take their rest
in some western cave
yet your mournful bangle* melody
sounds on
in some kitchen midden
teary sobs whistle in your throat
Who left you
bound by bangles
to cry in this world?
who left you
to live in this world?
When at dawn
weariness laid to rest
the great eyes of the sun
slide open
your mournful song of bangles
sounds on still
at well and tap
weary hands move once again
to work and tasks
From the form of mother
to the malform of whore
like some rush mat spread on the floor
you're ever busy
for men! for the rule of men! for a man's world!
Who left you in this world
bedecked in finery
for the sake of men?
who left you in this world
summoned by love's tangle
to be looted?

As you came into this world
so came men
but as it would mold men brave and strong
it would mold you fearful and weak
father teaches little brother
while mother teaches you
after all this cruel instruction
you turn half human
half caged mynah
so too a man turns
half human
half hunting falcon
When your eyes begin to seek
distant horizons
men's Koran
sinks poison fangs into your eyes
when your steps begin to take
the measure of borders
men's Gita
cuts the feet from under you
when you seek to push open
the door to inner wisdom
men's Bible
spreads dark smoke through your soul
when possibilities
are at an end
your body remains
fitted only for sex
Body's light of consciousness half-snuffed
you cannot fully know a man
nor a man fully know you
like a vulture swooping
upon a responseless corpse
men's union with you
becomes but an endless series
of tragic rapes
oh! thus this loving nature
disfigured in a moment

Your child-like smile
could lend even rubble strewn banks
the vitality to be a poet
When you're walking
in the bloom of youth
sun sparkling on sea
raging river
blooming flower and heart rending moon
the beauty of all these things
looks plainer than plain
When carrying
an infant in your womb
awash in the light of your labour
working in factory or field
at that moment
all nature is captured
in your beauty
From mother's womb
to last moment on the pyre
you're as vast as the sky
profound as a bounty-laden tree
energetic as the earth
militant as the wind and
as a drop of dew
as beautiful
as the eyes of a babe
But this world
this world described by men
wrings out the beauty of your entire kind
imprisons it in a few faces and declares
'The Beauty'
All round the world
wherever the sun's rays reach
disfiguring itself
this man's world
weighs your entire militancy
on the scale of sex
Oh! you're traded like dirt
and in this trade
the human world descends
to that of beasts
into quagmire

Men's eyes call for embraces
You summon men
with full devotion
just as the banks dam the river
in their embrace
Turbulent river and rubble strewn bank!
How different, you and men!
Your lover woos you
I'll give you shelter
in the depths of my eyes
From house to nation
stories of abandoning all
for your sake
this world's eternal tale
A ring in the ear,
gold necklace at the throat
ankle bracelet...
Men ever ready
to give you these
and all other luxuries
But in return
your whole existence
your place among militant humanity
you must lay down
at the feet of men!

Just as the source of life
lurks in the scent of the soil
in the actions of your body
hidden lays
the continuance of humankind
But of your menstruation
your birthing power
your endurance
your modesty
men make out weakness
a subject for ridicule
Though men demand sexiness of you
yet they declare you sexpot

From distant past till today
you've cried
along with all working ones' eyes
you've been looted
along with all working hands
you've fought
along with all working people
yet even today
in every battle defeat
you lose more
in every battle victory
you gain less
Every age
like the kisses of a deceitful lover
upon your breast
Even today
men make you queen
declare you ladylove
a civilized gentleman
considers you helpmate
yet for age upon age
you've been in search
of a single male friend
friend! friend! friend!
This world's become
so sorry, so tragic
in this age
even the male lover of equality
compelled to oppress you some!

In this civilized world
still you are raped
still stripped naked
still sold like potato and turnip
still beaten like a beast
still humiliated like a dog
oh! even love leaves a void within

In this world
where you give birth
to the whole human race
in this same world
you must know death
every moment
in this world
whose whole being
you love
in this same world
within an embrace
you must know

When there's naught at your back
but tears of exile when there's naught before your eyes
but fenced-off lands
when this class society
insults your very birth
when this class society
gives you no gift
but a grave
when this class society
bans becoming a person
then what's to fear? who's to prevent?
why hesitate? what's to attract?
To give new life to yourself
come, sacrifice in the fire
of this class war!
in search of one
lost since the ages
in search of a friend
deceived since the ages
friend! friend! friend!
who you want to find!
who a working man wants to find.

* Glass bangles worn by women are a Hindu symbol of marriage.