• Easy ; Sugar

    Sampurna Chattarji

    November 21, 2016



    Death is easy to pronounce.
    He deserved to die.
    They ought to be shot.
    Hanging’s too good for him.
    The words fall glib.
    Throw-away lines
    sentencing them to death.

    Distant observer,
    you speak without guilt, or fear
    of misplaced allegiances.
    You just need something to say,
    that’s all.

    The right sentiment, rightly declared
    whichever way your loyalties blow
    in the gust of the smoke-filled air.

    A country burns.
    The death-dealers deserved to die, you say.

    Death is easy to pronounce.
    It’s the smell of burning children that’s hard.




    screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-7-37-38-amGustave Doré, 'Pierrot Grin' / Wikiart





    The sugar on the tongue 
    the poison in the eye 
    shedding sweetly the venomous tears.

    The prayer on the lip 
    the gun on the hip 
    marking zealously the blood-fresh map.

    The bread trucks in front 
    the battle tanks behind 
    rolling deftly the bitter pummelled land.

    The dove on the sleeve 
    the hawk in the heart 
    calling clearly the faithful to arms.

    The flag on the mast 
    the shovel in the dust 
    digging deeply the glorious stolen gold.

    The stride in the foot
    the fist on the jaw
    breaking swiftly the face of the earth.




    Sampurna Chattarji is a poet, fiction-writer and translator with 14 books to her credit, the latest being Space Gulliver: Chronicles of an Alien (HarperCollins, 2015). These poems are part of ICF's unfolding Citizens against War series of literature and art, initiated in the spirit of listening: to our poets, artists, fellow citizens, against war and warmongering.

    'Easy' first published in 100 Poets Against the War ed. Todd Swift, Salt Publishing UK, 2003 and featured in the documentary film Voices in Wartime, 2004. 'Sugar' first appeared here.


    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.