Joint Pain/ Padam Gautam


First, they burned jungles, 

cornfields and hungry huts.

Burnt cots, almirahs and clothes,

and stumps of the remaining trees--

the same ash seekers

Then they made our children 

carry the ashes on their mule backs. 


Again they burnt the whole landscape--

wheat fields, barns,

and my beautiful wooden house.

Slowly as we watched 

they burnt the whole village.

Powerless, this moment

we stand shivering in the cold

alone, bare and bleak 

in this deserted village.


Oh again, once again is coming this way

the procession of the Ash seekers 

Now, not even

the skin of the earth remains. 

What shall we burn

to produce ash for them?

Really, we have nothing left 

except these fragile bodies

Would they now accept 

the ash of our charred bodies. 

[Translated from the Nepali by Yuyutsu RD Sharma]