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Published on 21st February 2019

Kashmir ...

Weep softly O mother,
the walls have ears you know...
The streets are awash o mother!
I cannot go searching for him anymore.

The streets are awash o mother
with blood and tears, pellets and screams.
that silently remain locked in the air,
while they seal our soulless dreams.

The guns are out, O mother,
while our boys go armed with stones,
I cannot go looking for him O mother,
I have no courage to face what I will find.
For, I need to tend to this little one beside,
with bound eyes that see no more.

They fill the air O mother,
The fragrance of plastic flowers
I will place them too beside your grave
if I ever do survive,
flowers that have no soul.
and would never fade with time.

The sun shines glorious O mother
The water sparkles so fine
The buds are closed in terror
and birds have gone silent with fear
There is poison in our heaven O mother
I dread for what more is in store.

They came for him O mother,
yesterday as you slept inside,
He went marching O mother
with all the others beside.
I never told you O mother,
that I do not know if he will ever return.
They may have given him guns,
or they may have given him stones,
you and I will never know,
until they come for him like before.
The streets are awash O mother!
I cannot go searching for him anymore.

One night as I lay in his arms he said,
he wants to fight no more.
And, yet in the morning, he was gone
to join the battle once more.
Just for a second, he said,
he saw pain on the soldier’s face,
but in a thrice, he said it was gone,
and he felt the war once more.

Weep softly o mother,
the walls have ears you know...
If your old blind eyes can see,
You will want to see again no more.

Our men have lost their spirit
Our women have lost their smile,
Our children have lost their laughter,
The valley has lost its shine,
Weep softly O mother
for, we still have our pride.

Pain breeds more pain,
as you know O mother.
I fear that our boys and men will
blow themselves up,
as we run out of stones to throw.
More shall take their place,
as more shall die,
with no medals on their chest,
no war wounds,
fuelled by the dull anger
deadened by our pain,
brothers no more.
What is right,
and what is wrong,
our minds now know no more,
this ache, this ache
will never leave us O mother,
until we are all no more.

The streets are awash O mother!
I cannot go searching for him anymore.
And soon, like you
Will I be,
neither here nor there,
merely a half-widow.

-----

Weep for the home we lost O mother,
Weep for the valley we left behind,
the hills that once bore our names,
where shoulder to shoulder,
we walked the vales,
proud of our heritage.
Hunted out of our very homes,
flying like thieves in the night,
abandoning it all,
fearful for the lives of our men,
fearful of our being raped,
our children killed,
Kafirs they called us O mother,
they marked our homes to kill.
We now haunt the streets of other cities,
refugees in a country we call our own,
belonging nowhere,
feeling homeless without the land
we once called home.

-------------

Weep loudly O mother,
for the nation hears our pain.
As the fresh flag moulds his cold body,
I know his sacrifice was not in vain.
We need to put our chins up, O mother
and face this moment with pride.

I shall wear on my chest the weight of the medal,
where once the weight of his love I bore,
The nation shall remember his tale of valour,
as he looks on at us from above …

Weep loudly O mother,
as I whisper something into your ears.
Weep as I tell you what he spoke,
in the darkness, before you awoke.
About the men who cross our borders,
and boys with broken dreams,
who throw stones at him as he passes by,
and weeping women he must ignore.
By the light of the day, he hardens his heart,
by the burning sun, he steels his resolve.
He needs to fight this ugly war,
shoulder to shoulder,
where brother fights brother,
all numb to pain.
Where victory is a child blinded,
and a gun silences a joke in mid-air.

He deals with death every day O mother,
and comes home to us to stay alive.
We are his meaning, O mother,
the reason behind his smile.
For, he must be hard on the outside,
while we keep his softness alive.
And, now he is gone, O mother,
blown to bits just like the boy that died.

Weep loudly O mother,
Yet, make no sound outside.
For, just like the mothers on the other side,
the aching women who miss their men,
and the children with listless eyes,
You and I must arise from this pain,
ready to give once more.

The glory of death, O mother,
is greater from our side.
The nation and the world,
shall honour his end,
unlike the other side.

When he last came here O mother,
he spoke of the icy mountains,
he spoke of its blessed air,
of pink-cheeked children,
red-lipped women,
handsome men,
winding roads
that he goes by.
Barbed fences,
plastic flowers
unmarked graves galore.
He talked of how amidst it all,
how he felt alone.

I feel he hated to fight O mother,
and yet, I know he was so brave.
He started to talk of how he could die,
I hushed him willing to hear no more.
We filled the night with our love and longing,
dreading the time for him to go.
And, now he is gone forever, O mother,
leaving his child behind,
We shall long for his footsteps O mother,
and his laugh that we will hear no more.

We shall learn to sleep someday, O mother,
You and I,
Missing him every moment of our lives,
yet ready to live unafraid.
We will have to go on O mother,
proud we have the whole nation beside.

He said he did not believe in war,
and that is why he fought so hard.
Strange as it might sound O mother,
I think I know his heart and mind.
That, he fought the many wars within,
the hard and the soft,
the right and the wrong,
and he fought,
for he knew he was fighting the right side.

We know there are wailing mothers and wives
on the other side,
listless children,
men with hardened hearts and steely resolve.
Just like ours.
That, with every wound on either side,
there shall be wounds again both sides ten-fold.

The scent of the flowers fills the air O mother,
the flame from the candles rise high.
A billion hearts mourn with us, O mother,
as we grieve inside.
I, a widow,
And, you a mother.

Dry up your tears O mother,
for our men have not lost their spirit
Our women have not lost their smiles,
Our children have not lost their laughter,
The valley has not yet lost its shine,
Weep no more O mother
For, we shall wear our pride.
And, I hope for a day when
our men and boys come back alive.

For blood is blood, and pain is pain,
and death is final,
The false story we must tell ourselves
is that we are always the right side,
and forget the pain we inflict on the other side.
Until it all stops, it must go on,
the dry tears on either side,
Every war and battle is within and without,
and must claim its wounds and leave its scars,
And, if we need to go on O mother,
it matters we feel we are on the right side.
We need to tell ourselves
we are always the right sight...
We need to repeat it a million times,
We are always the right side...
For god forbid, what if we were not?

- Srividya Srinivasan
17/07/2016 and 21/2/2019 and 10/8/2019 [ Written over a period of three years]

#song of kashmir #the valley weeps #fragrance of plastic flowers #Medals from a nation
#homeless #Kashmir 



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