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
(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”.)