A Poet’s Margins

I could do nothing else, I too am guilty,

Except for a few faint and feeble voices

Faint as we put them on the margin, 

Feeble as they are tired, and feel lost.

What makes riches and resources more valid, visible?

That pushes others into the relative margins?

Margins of what, they ask? 

What of them in obscure towns and forgotten villages?

What rescues them, when schemes and schemers don’t?

What salvation from the perennial obscurity?

Obscurity to whom and why

What makes you call yourself as centre, they ask?

They own the little land, the little home, the little sun, the little moon.

The little boy with filmy dreams,

Wearing goggles with red borders and purple gleam,

The girl who finds no seclusion to honour unlearnt bodily privacy,

Whose unknown subordination begins from such simple denials,

All juxtaposed and laid underneath the hot sun, cracked upon the barren ground.

What saves them? 

When will they matter the same? 

In that world priding towards postmodern,

Did the poet’s words too, turn into ads? 

Making money, selling tags, drinking wine before bed?

What use are words if they cannot serve what nothing does?

What use are words if they too don’t reach hearts in the hinterlands, forests and fields?

Is their obscurity their fault or our failure?

Yet we seek to pity them, not us.

A poet’s failure is the last nail, 

A termination of the last rays of hope.

Did the poet fear his own obscurity by writing on the obscure?

O poet, how will your taps and wires reach us, they ask?

When even your words don’t?

When even they fall tired along the way, breathless, lifeless and seek to turn back,

Instead adorning blogs and billboards,

Instead seeking personal comforts and personal lives.

O poet, they ask,

What price for a word you now charge?

It was raining hard.

We spent all our money to repair the roof.


Subham Basak is currently studying for a PhD in International Development at the University of Oxford, UK.

Twitter: @SubhamB_Rick

Featured image illustration by Pariplab Chakraborty.