Poems on
Society

Nativity Bandhan

a poem by Ramanujam Meganathan

Stranger in a strange city.
Protect yourself.
Wear mask.
Protect from whom?
One virus makes me foreign.
Unwanted, unnecessary and mean.
Suddenly I am an alien.
In the city alien, familiar city alien.
In my alien country.
An island within the Country.
Feeling of shame, humiliation.
I realize the remoteness in me.
Muted, starved, exhausted.
My labour is what is wanted,
Not I.
Market based labour market.
Daily wager, coolies,
Adhoc workers, contractual staff.

Long roads,
Sleeping rails
Killing fields.
Dancing death.
Fear of dying ‘here’.
There should be four to carry.
‘Why was I born?’ feeling.
Blame poverty, blame the city.
Why don’t ‘they’ suffer?

The rustic place which drove me out
builds the bandhan.
I know everyone.
No one will chase me out.
There or not there
I eat something all the time.
My mean labour earns me respect.
All are my bandhan
No man is foreign.
This is my nativity.