My Country My people Modern Indian Epic
Canto -1 , Poem - 1

A hand rises out of the dawn, the hand

of the toiler of time, it is raised dipped in the

Blood and sweat of human fields; it scatters sindoor

to long shadows and distances.

I open my eyes and from my little window

greet the birds and clouds, flying about in the air.

I fling a sigh at them that all my dreams

Are only their wings. I share the loving gift of

Sun, my day, with them

I am born out of the grain,

I live for the grain and dead I go back into the grain. I make

Poems with molecules of sounds and like glass

Made out of particles of sand, lilt them into tunes.

With yarn which dreams of colours, I

Weave saris to drape women of my country and

Release them like butterflies in the meadows of

Human life.

I make ships, launch them in the oceans,

To carry and go flying my people’s flags:

I lay roads into dreams, I build mansions

Into the clouds, with my life I raise massive walls

On the frontiers of my country, high into the chest

Of our enemies;

I give shapes, forms and voices to rocks

And release them from silences. I plough all the

Fields of human life; what beauty have I not

Created with this hand! What thing on earth did

Not surrender to this hand? But this hand has

Remained ever empty!

I had no place in bygone history and the

Present history has no scruples. Why I build dams,

Why I till lands, I do not know!

I live in zero, but I walk along. Man

Man is the walking tree, whose roots have changed

Into legs. Had I remained a tree, I could have had

A spring every year; having become a man, I have

Lost all the springs on earth.

From my childhood, trees have been

growing, roads have been walking, towns and

villages have been jumping and dancing in joy,

but I walk alone with empty hands in my country;

where I have nothing of my own, only my

memories to follow behind me, with myself as the leader

of the procession and my burning

red desire, flying as my flag-