July 20, 2008


~ Dedicated to all the children who lost their lives in the Kumbakonam tragedy.
*This poetry was inspired by an article written by Ramya Kannan in The Hindu

The dazzle and shine of the sunlight,
Woke her up on Friday morning bright.

A bath, a prayer, a quick book-check,
Powder on the face and beads around the neck.
Heavy bag across the shoulder where pig tails danced,
Out to her school- she ran, she pranced.

Eyes abrim with hope for that one word of praise,
For all the work done the past two days.
A joy for the morning, a joy for the day ahead,
A joy that was visible in her very tread!
The big eyes danced in hopeful light,
That she’ll stand victor and show the world her might!

She squeezed through the school door,
Where a huge crowd did throng.
Her greets to her dear friends
Drowned by the school dong.

Soon began the roll-call, soon began the class,
Soon did they recite their Tamil lines in a mass.
And suddenly that big spark did emerge,
Embracing the thatched roofs, on, it did surge.
Panic here, panic there and all ran about,
With ‘Help! Help!’ ‘Save me’ and a million other shouts.

Oh hours later all of them lay in silence,
The big-eyed girl, among them, her face-rigid and tense.
Her unburnt eyes were wide and in them could be read,
Pain, disappointment, panic and dread!

Oh dear girl! Your dreams are no more!
You’ll no more see victory, no more see a dawn!

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Maira Gall