Poems by
Rudrajyoti Nath Ray

Labore et Constantia – War bores

a poem by Rudrajyoti Nath Ray

Sleepless I lie.
Leaves rustle under the pressure of their boots
The tall reverberate in resonance of their gunshots.
From a distance I hear the silence of a coordinated call.
From a distance I hear the sound of a half dark passage way.

I need some rain or some black, some red or some white
To camouflage my hidden sleeplessness;
I need some dreams to pretend.
Some hopes to try

Sleepless I lie in the soldier’s march.

Two men suddenly come my way
They ask, “Are you Mr. Our very Own?
Why then do you lie in this ordinary!
Why then do your eyes look suspiciously at us?
Get up Sir! They call you!”

In my borrowed silky fabric (intended to hide an infected organ)
I walk, bewildered, yet half assured of no harm
The boots, comfortably, behind me,
Trailing me with foreign sincerity,
Pushing me when I lose my way.

They say, “Don’t be afraid.
We are not here to kill you!
You belong to us
Without you we lose our dignity
Without you we are not soldiers anymore.”
“Walk some distance, Sir.”
“We are nearing the train.”

Uneasy seconds graduate to uneasy minutes.
Sleeplessness half lost into obscurity
I plead them to shout my name again!
“You are Our very Own sir, Our very Own!”
Trust your soul.

Sleepless I lie in the soldier’s march.

Today I am not going to let them take me Away.