At Fifty Three

Here’s a powerful poem by Smita, a personal prayer in defiance.

Dear God,

Idol of stone,

Shaped like a phallus.

And then, more often than not,                             

A priest discovers you embossed

On a rock; female, eight-armed,

Armed with trident, sword,

Mace, chakra, bow,

Seated on your tiger-throne.

And there, up on a hill,

Or beside a lake,

Someone builds for you,

Your home . . .
You lie through your teeth.

You never fulfill promises.

You don’t take calls,

Nor answer letters or e-mail.

I’ve learned to trust in

Science and logic,

Not you.
Once, when I believed                                                          

Injustice was done,

I went up a million stairs

To your temple

Of the trillion bells

And, amongst a zillion others,

Tied with a sacred thread,

To the temple arch,

My petition of fears and tears.
You did not right the wrong.

Fed up, I realised,

It was I, who had to be strong,

Never expect anything nor depend on you.
It doesn’t matter anymore

Whether you’re fact or

A figment of the imagination.

Just that, whenever,

Like Hanuman                                                                                      

I cleave open my chest,

Reach out for my heart,

I see on its template

The imprint

Of your face…


Pix from net

Smita Agarwal

Smita Agarwal

Smita Agarwal is a poet-critic and the author of Wish-granting Words, Poems, Mofussil Notebook and Marginalized: Indian Poetry in English. She has won awards from the British Council and The Poetry Society, India. She has been a writer in Residence at the universities of Stirling, and Kent. She is Professor of English and Director, Centre for Women’s Studies, Allahabad University, and a professional singer with samples of her songs available on You Tube and
Smita Agarwal

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