An image has stayed on in my mind from a very young age…
There was this lady whom I used to see at her window every evening when I passed by her house. She looked the picture of loneliness. Much later I heard about a school friend who had been widowed very young and was now living a forlorn life adhering to the customs of her community. And one day when I saw a crow as described in the poem, somehow all these pictures came together and spilled out in this poem.
by Shernaz Wadia
swamped by the darkness as it grew
cawing, from cable to cable he flew,
loathe to return to an empty nest
gloom framed the teary-eyed widow
as she stood at her lonesome window -
a still-life painting, tight-lipped
incidental pin-points on society’s map
she and her ilk, drained of life’s sap
live in forced seclusion
the crow still has the freedom of the sky;
consigned to living death, she must cry
in the eerie confines of her soul
not for her the colors of mirth and cheer,
only the grey of his ashes must she smear
on her youth, her passions, her desires
a walking tomb of crucified dreams
happiness throttled by inaudible screams
a Sati on traditions gruesome pyre!
Shernaz Wadia is a retired primary school teacher, and lives in Pune, India. Her articles, short stories and poems have been widely published in web journals and anthologies. She has published ‘Whispers of the Soul’, a collection of poems and “Tapestry Poetry” – a genre of poetry, developed by her and Israeli poet Avril Meallem. More about this form can be read here.
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