As Usual

by. Ms. Salma (Rajathi Samsudeen)

During this season we ploughed our lands

in the name of god and planted the seedlings.

We commenced every task uttering those words

without fail.

We planted and nurtured the grain inscribed with

a stranger’s name.

Sometimes we tried to guess whose name was

written on this grain of paddy and on which grain the name

of the child begging for alms on the roadside might

or might not be inscribed.

Sunlight drips over

our sown fields,

and as time falls away

like a withered leaf,

our crops ripen to maturity.

We served ourselves the crop

we harvested in the name of god,

those grains on which our name was

inscribed, under the moonlight that bears

nobody’s name, through the heedless air.

Translated from the Tamil poem, Vazhakkam Pola by Salma

  -Rajathi Samsudeen