The Arts

The Nomad’s Daughter

A poem about the little girl in Kathua.

It takes time to learn the language of horses.
It takes time to trust the meadow’s green.
It takes time to flee the shadows of home.
To bask in the glory of an unnamable earth.

But who can tell in this world of beasts?
There are herds of men hiding in their lair.
Their wicked blood never goes to sleep.
When they pace the earth, birds fall silent,
The sun goes blind, mountains turn deaf.

The herds draw lines of blood over earth.
They tear limbs to fit the nation’s furniture.

The little girl did not know the difference
Between lure and love, trust and betrayal;
She did not know the world beyond hers.
She did not know, invisible lines are drawn
To harm people who live without walls.

The horses returned home, unable to tell
How the gods died in a poisoned temple.

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a poet who teaches at Ambedkar University, Delhi.

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