Whisper tales

Golkunda Fort - 2
“Immortal thy soul, soldier“,
They sang and marched
I was found
Naked, crying, famished
Near a trench
– and pool of blood,
I thought was colors

Before I realized, at 5
Was carrying coded messages
From one rebel camp
To the other
Folded paper, rolled in
cigarettes – then mixed
with a fresh batch
Did that for years
Till made to stand in a queue
In front of a rifle

First killed at 12
The man was raping
His daughter,
The blue eyed one
I liked,
Was almost stoned
To a glorious

Trained in guerrilla warfare,
hand to hand combat
At 15,
learned how to stab
..and how long
to rotate the knife
till his guts came out,
Don’t remember
If I was blown by a canon
Or, just lamely hanged
With others

I fought in uniform,
Or without,
Brought home in a flag
or not,
Yet always died
Amid gun shots,
Smell of gunpowder
Put me to sleep

In Poland, Srilanka,
Cuba, Afghanistan
Bangladesh Or Myanmar
You won’t

In the grave;

The river my ashes were thrown;
The forest I rotted with fallen leaves;
The chamber I was buried half-alive

Nevertheless, you may find me below the guillotine blade, whistling
“Immortal thy soul, soldier
Age doesn’t weary us
Or, years condemn.”

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Photo: Army barrack, Golkunda fort, Hyderabad that survived a history of nearly thousand years and still going strong.

20 thoughts on “Whisper tales

  1. Powerful writing, Abhra. You have really given a vivid picture of present day war as it is; and so many young people seem to get caught in the web. What a hardened young fighter you have portrayed. Unfortunately, seems very realistic.

  2. This is so realistic and true, Abrha. To me your poem evoked guerrilla warfare and all the young men who might not always be able to articulate why they are fighting and have seen so much from a very early age – too many lost generations.

  3. dang…what a haunting quote there in the end…i like how that sandwiches all of this….and we raise soldiers…makes me think of the indoctrination of the boy soldiers….a sad sad reality….

  4. Yes, supreme sadness, yet it was guerilla tactics in Viet Nam that defeated us; for that matter we were the guerillas during the Revolutionary War that took on the British Army & defeated them; littered throughout history it is the guerilla freedom fighters against the Establishment; too often misled, abused, wasted. So, hey, history keeps reminding us of both our basest nature & our noblest instincts to fight against tyranny & the police state. Your poem was stirring & stinging simultaneously.

  5. I feel sad when I see and read about child soldier, growing up in the midst of war & terror ~ Like the quotes too Abhra ~ It seems the war is part of the history of our lands, never-ending cycle of violence ~

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