Burnt Musings: War

Roger Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death, from the Crimean War


Roger Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death, from the Crimean War
Roger Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death, from the Crimean War

The sun rises with the promise of hope and warmth
spreading across the horizon
giving life to everything under her feet
as she softly kisses everything her hands can touch
and taints it all with orange.
Teaching us to keep waking up
to the echoes of the chirping of birds
and the rustling of the breeze against the trees she nurtured.

Mayhem is yet to strike,
in the form of marching feet
and listless eyes
ordered to recruit every man who they can afford to lose.
And it turns the crisp morning air
into clouds of dust
that sometimes refuse to settle
to hide the bodies lying in our path
as if to warn
that we’ll end up the same way.

Dawn is a resonance of a knell
The ripples of the sound spilling across empty streets
My heart is still echoing from all those screams I couldn’t turn away from
Their voices still beating in my head
Constantly pleading
For some peace in this chaos.

With guns and grenades,
And ammunition and our own hands
I still feel helpless with the way the rain of bullets enveloped everyone around me
The only way they’d get some peace.
And I’m still standing somehow,
The echoes ravaging my head
My hands still quivering from the taste of cold metal clasped in my palms
A pull of a trigger and the gunshot still makes me shiver.
And now the desolated darkness shrouds the cities
With a haunting calm and melting candles on every front door
That can’t illuminate the houses as brightly as they used to before.

The ghosts of all those wanted the war now haunts the city
The blooming city,
With her children so tender and the rivers that helped,
Now howls every night from the loss of her own blood.
And the sky remains silent. As the sky always does. Observing the rubble.

Can the rain wash away the handprints of the martyrs who collapsed against the soil in their last breaths and grabbed a fistful of the earth, desperately pleading for it to embrace them the way their mothers would have?

I can feel it all again when the nightmares turn into my heaving chest, into a landfill of devastated dreams, into empty promises of freedom.

Their bruised hands tried so hard to hold the country together
That it broke their hearts when everything fell apart
And they couldn’t save all the children.

We need shelter from ourselves.
We hide in our own houses, bury our hearts in postcards that will never get responded to,
And we wait.

The sun rises differently this time.
She wakes and howls so loud for the loss of all the soldiers that it burns up everything.
And everything is reverberating with the echoes of bullets
that have long killed the birds that ever wanted to fly.
This is how it ends, doesn’t it?
Not with a bang but a silence so loud, the stillness makes death quiver on his throne.

Tamarind Fall is The Mumbai Art Collective’s Poet in Residence. She likes to write about everything, especially the universe, spilled ink, shattered glass and broken hearts. The world is always an inspiration she can’t get enough of. She is pursuing quantum mechanics but in her free time, she also likes to do photography, play games and read books.