Listen, said the Earth Mother.
I am terribly unwell.
You have all been behaving so badly of late,
and I have had it with all of you.
Continuously fighting, shouting, sulking,
hitting each other, even killing…
Stealing from each other, outdoing each other…
Have you forgotten I have told you to share?
Have you forgotten that you are all my clan?
They say I raised you badly,
that I was too kind.
that your lives are now a mess,
with no trace of the way you were raised.
I feel so ashamed of you my children,
and wonder, where did I fail as a mother?
Quieten your clamour and listen!
Listen for once, to my breathing.
I am old. Getting older by the day.
My breathing is raspy.
There are holes in my lungs.
I am struggling to breathe.
Do you ever think of me?
Have you heard my struggle?
Through the day and into the late nights?
The rare times you think of me?
Have you hear me cry?
My silent tears spilling,
quietly spilling, lest it affect your lives.
There are times I feel so cold,
cold and shivering feeling icy for months,
did you check on your mother to know why she feels so cold?
Maybe, the lack of warmth from all you children perhaps towards me?
There are days, I feel a raging fire,
such raging, hot fevers that spreads through my body,
until I don’t know when they would stop.
It sometimes takes so many of you to bring my fevers down,
once it comes to your notice.
My breasts have run dry long back,
and yet you will keep breeding,
forcing me to feed you all from my milk of kindness.
As a mother, I weep within.
My womb once fertile and generous,
and ready to create,
is forced again and again
to give birth, to continue to nurture,
without rest, without any nurture.
Until, I feel like an old, dead, birthing machine
that has long lost its life.
Sometimes, I feel there are large parts of my body missing.
I suspect that some of my greedy sons and daughters and their offspring
have been cutting away so many parts off me,
I no longer know what is left of me.
Sometimes I think, I no longer care.
And, yet I must continue to nurture like every mother does,
till her dying breath,
even when she has nothing left in her to give,
continue to feed, continue to smile, continue to give birth,
continue with the show,
that the great home is all fine.
My spirit is broken.
I need to rest.
I need you to quieten down.
To think of this old mother.
To check on her.
Is she fine?
Do you remember when you were a child?
You lay on my lap in wonder, and we both
looked at the skies and smiled.
The birds and flowers all around us.
The bees and tiny animals playing with us.
As you lay on my soft lap, you children,
You tugged at my hand, and together
we went on a journey of magic.
Do you see how as you all grew older,
Like all children do, you forgot your mother,
You kept reaching out to her,
to take what you wanted, to demand at times,
to come home to me once in a while,
thrill at some old childhood memories,
and go back to your busy lives,
Forgetting that every part of you,
has been lovingly made by me.
You went back to your busy, noisy lives,
forgetting the bond we share.
As a mother now I ache,
seeing you all suffer.
If you just give me some time to rest,
This old mother Earth of yours,
will soon be back on my feet,
and will then like all mothers do,
Take care of you,
like I once did,
when you were a child.
- Srividya Srinivasan 22/3/2020