Poems by Arthi Kothandaraman

Why Me?

a poem by Arthi Kothandaraman

Born into a world insane
My infant wail went unheard
In the chaos that was
The death of she
Who brought me.

Bred in turmoil for years sixteen,
My childish tantrums were no match
For my mother’s husband’s
Fits of passion
Fuelled by liquor.

Why me?
What have I to live for
In this mad
Bad place that humans
Call earth?

Why me?
Why only me…
Beaten black and blue
By life’s harsh realities
And tormentors alike
For what… I pretend not to ken

Why me?
Why only me did He pick?
And let in the streets
Just rags to pick?
Day in and day out…

I know not what to think
With hunger foremost in my mind
Mindless of the scorching heat
Eating through my unclothed feet
I grab pieces others didn’t think fit.

Why me?
Why only me…
Who knows but two things in life
Taught by hard lessons galore
One… To pick rags
Two… To weep in silence

Why me?
Why do I exist in this unreal world?
Inspite of sorrows all…
Do I hope for something?
Do I see a silver lining?

Please… Oh please…
Someone… Anyone… Tell me quick…
Is there a place for me
In this mad
Bad world…

A place only I can fill
A place only I can feel
A place where there is love
A place where I can love
And be loved.

Colour… My liberty

a poem by Arthi Kothandaraman

“Coloured”, they gasped
And shied away
And shut their ears
To my infant wail.

“Coloured”, they said
And shook their heads
In disapproval
Denying me education minimal.

“Coloured”, they cried
And then I woke up
Only to be told
That I had been sold.

“Coloured”, they jeered
And wagged their fingers
Care they did not
That my eyes were teary.

“Coloured”, they spat
And deprived me
Of what was mine
My own… my very own right.

Right to speak
Right to choose
Right to live
Right to just be!

Coloured I am… yes
White and pure of heart and mind
Black and blue with scars that bind
Brown of skin and black of hair
Red with the rage of the freedom flair.


Coloured I am not… no
I know I am not
Black at heart or green with envy
Or red with the blood
Of all and sundry.

I’m black-skinned and white-hearted
You are white-skinned and black-hearted
I’m red with passion for liberty
You are red with the blood of my men.

Tell me! O ye just and the wise
You now see our true colours
Which is just? Which is wise?
Coloured to be… as he or me?