My friend Wei Fen Lee just posted this poem on her blog, and I dig it so much that I’m reblogging it. Enjoy.
One day a lean poem
reached Gandhi’s ashram
to have a glimpse of the man.
Gandhi spinning away
his thread towards Ram
took no notice of the poem
waiting at his door
ashamed as he was no bhajan.
The poem cleared his throat
and Gandhi looked at him sideways
through those glasses
that had seen Hell.
‘Have you ever spun thread?’, he asked,
‘Ever pulled a scavenger’s cart?
Ever stood the smoke
of an early morning kitchen?
Have you ever starved?’
The poem said: ‘I was born
in the woods, in a hunter’s mouth.
A fisherman brought me up in his hamlet.
Yet, I know no work, I only sing.
First I sang in the courts:
then I was plump and handsome;
but am on the streets now,
‘That’s better,’ Gandhi said
with a sly smile, ‘but you must
give up this habit
of speaking in Sanskrit at times.
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