Site icon Arnav Sibal

4. Papa

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Papa loves a land

That doesn’t let him reap

What he sows

It turns and beats another crack

Into his soul

I see the weathering in his eyes

And I’ve watched from on the fence

Our neighbours grin and gather

All their ill-gotten gains turn their spit into lather


Papa stays an honest man

Despite the heat and toil

While the others, smug, high on spirits

Polish off their spoils

Then settle down in their verandahs

Airs conditioned without grace

Complain that the land will never change


The soil is corrupted down to the bedrock

But they have never been rocked out of bed

To tend to it at all

And I may have been small

But I never saw them, not once

Crack their backs after sunset

From a day spent slumped


Papa stays a working man

He tries to keep us healthy

I know it chews him up inside

He eats more to hush his belly

While they cut into their beef at night

And carve their days out of saffron

Self-proclaimed pundits

Telling others they’re the mad ones


Papa, why don’t you leave?

How do you turn the other cheek

When all they’ve got from ear to ear

Is holy shit stuck in their teeth?

Papa, I’m trying really

To survive the bheedof masks

They shower in the cries of the land that they have

Then peel off the dead skin

And sit before screens

Saying “Aye-haye!”

At each reported scream


Papa, what’s the point?
I’m failing to see

I love none and no land loves me

Why do you defend that

Which makes you bleed?


Papa, I don’t love the land

The way that you do

Partly because of the way it treats you

Tell me, papa, how do you stay you

And how can I be like that too?

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