Saturday, February 17, 2007


This poem is inspired by the movie that I watched yesterday, Umrao Jaan (2006). The movie was about a woman whose life was "a saga of ill-fate." I never cried so much over a character; I cried even the day after watching it! One of the painful things to accept about the story was that it showed that in life, sometimes, there is no happily ever after, no matter how hard we wish for it. For someone who watches mainly happily ever after movies, you can imagine how deeply painful this movie was. But to feel pain is to know one is alive. Even more importantly, to feel pain is to know that one values life--In this sense, Umrao Jaan, who had every reason to despise life, cherished it. I admire that she could still kiss the ring that her beloved had given her, even though he wrongly accused her and married someone else. Moreover, upon seeing the man (now a leper) who sold her to a brothel, she could still ask God to forgive HER (for her bitterness, anger?). Umrao sang poetry. No, she became poetry.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
My heart has become
a stone
in its cage,
and it rolls around
left to right to pinch my lungs—
robbing me of my breaths—
and up and down to irritate my mind—
making me a madwoman.
Its vengeful movements are a last illusion
of its beating pulses.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
Night and day have become one—
there is no hope.
Most of the air has packed it bags and departed,
and I am choking
on the nothingness of me:
on the bitter memories of yesterdays
and on the empty memories of todays,
but not on tomorrows’; there are no more tomorrows.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
You do not know where
I am coming from,
but my shattered bits are everywhere
around you.
Hear me as you forget me.
Dance as your dregs of life
become my choice gifts.

I am the voice of a broken spirit.
I am the pretty songbird
with a cut tongue.
My voice is but silence to you, for
I sing a dying song—
a suffocated song.
I am the voice of a broken spirit.
Mine is an everlasting voice
that dies every other moment.
Hear me as you shall hear me no more.

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