When The Willow Wept

Santosh Bakaya


14 February dawned like any other day

Like every day the trees rustled

Every house, with fresh notes and sounds bustled.

From the Willow tree the bill-bi-chur sang a peace song

Striking relentlessly at a world gone hopelessly wrong.


“Come Shaista, have your breakfast,

You can stoke the dying embers

Of the kangri later.”

A mother sang a love note to her daughter pretty.

In the willow, the bill-bi-chur sang away her own peace ditty.


Another mother in another house

Lovingly reprimanded Danish, her twenty-year-old son

For his cricket – obsession.


All hell broke loose on the heaven on earth


Throttling the morning mirth.

Alas, in a crossfire

Two young lives were snuffed out yet again!

Why, oh why should we always be on a ‘darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight

Where ignorant armies clash by night?’


What was their fault

That the dreamy-eyed ones should have suffered this assault?

The willow wept a little more

Like never before.


The white cheeked bulbul pricked her ears

To these ‘eternal notes of sadness.’

And the willow wept

And wept.


Santosh Bakaya(The poem is dedicated to Shaista Hamid and Danish Rashid, who were killed in forces action on Sunday in Pulwama. A novelist-poet, Dr Santosh Bakaya is a Kashmiri living in Jaipur with her daughter and husband, Lalit Magazine. Writer of internationally acclaimed BALLAD OF BAPU, she recently won the Reuel International award for her long poem “OH HARK!” which is now part of “THE SIGNIFICANT ANTHOLOGY”.)


  1. Two young lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of such lives are lost throughout the world. Obviously old world order is not working. Everything in the world has fallen apart. Two big enemies of humanity at this moment are religion and nationalism. Rebellion on the one hand and suppression on the other are playing havoc. Groups as well as states have become killing machines of our time. We need to move beyond these dangerous old-world meaningless, hate-breeding ideas. I love your poem. Thank you for writing this.


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