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Thousands of Rivers

February 22nd, 2012 by admin

But yesterday,

they came like a mountain,

my people.

They arrived in hordes

my men,


Black faces bearded with silver

burning eyes red with rage

burst through the blankets of sleep

breaking the barriers of day

breaching the bounds of night.

Earth heaved in the mountains of my men

and quaked to their dance of rage

and those who crawled in lines of ants

rose in paws of jungle beasts

and those who crept like reptiles

rose in cobra hoods.

They rose, my men, in mountains

shouting the red song

Down, down inequality

Down Caste Hierarchy

Down the bug that fattens on money.

Ah, they flooded and flowed in rivers,

my people, yesterday!

The town and village they inundated

they plunged to depths of unknown roots

they floated to heights of unseen stars.

See how by the bushes and under the trees

in the streets and in the alleys

they gather in hordes,

my people,

flushing down the ranks of Headman’s power

and the files of Money-lenders away.

These shout a shriek of defiance

those are struck dumb,

these thunder from angry throats

those fall silent.

Ah, the winds of Revolution,

my people,

have seized the throats of those cut-throats.

See how in the whirlwind

twist the police batons

and knives of secret agents.

See how the twigs and dry leaves

spin the debris of Vedas,

of Puranas and Shastras.

See how the dirt of ammunition

and hardware of gunmen

whirl in the whirlwind

of Revolution!

Ah, my people

how they flooded in thousands of rivers

to swell the Revolutionary Sea.


Siddalingaiah's Kannada poem translated by P Rama Murthy. Source: A string of pearls, Edited by H.S.Shivaprakash and K.S.Radhakrishna. Please read Siddalingaiah's interview here and a review of his book Ooru Kheri here


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