I behold these red grains boiling
Tossing and swelling in my cooking pot
Eyes fiery-red, my blood simmering
In my grief-stricken heart turning hot
I behold the hot steam spiralling upwards
And hot tears are trickling down my face
Ascends this steam as a soul heavenwards
Perhaps it is him – But I can't see his face
Never known him - that farmer
His children or his wife
Knew him only as a nourisher
Before he ended his life
Never seen his then-rugged hands
That grew precious crops
Not seen his now-parched lands
That yearn for raindrops.
With honour he tilled, with others by his side
Season after season – hot and cold, wet and dry
And when he saw them commit suicide
He too killed himself – could no longer cry!
A teardrop just fell into this pot
The steam now dwindling
The rice is now dry and hot
I take a spoonful of serving
It tastes salty...very saline!
Could it be from his sweat?
Or from his tears or mine?
The farmer who I never met
***** Ratish Iyer *****