Poems

Oh Warrior of My Sacred Land

Oh warrior of my sacred land
the gun you bear on your shoulder
has neither eyes nor feet.
It steals your eyes to watch my step
it steals your feet to track me,
to blast a hole through my chest,
to hear my dying cry with your ears.

Oh warrior of my sacred land
this gun you bear on your shoulder
is it crippled, deaf and blind?
Has it shed its eyes, ears and feet
to take yours in their place?

You may know nothing about this gun -
but I know that our mutual enemy
schemes in a land far away.
He schemes for us to destroy our brothers,
to smash each other's jaws with brutal force
while he is safely out of reach.
He wants to mix our blood with soil
while his blood stays unspilt.
He wants us to freeze each night on the front
while he stays warm by a fire.
This is how our enemy schemes:
leaving his body at home like a shirt
he comes to our land in the form of a gun.

Oh warrior of my sacred land
when this sinister, limbless enemy
comes to our land in the form of a gun
he doesn't come alone, but in hordes
exceeding the headcount of this land,
each gun roaming and shooting ceaselessly:
not one with a bone that could break,
not one with skin that could burn,
not one with veins that could rip,
not one with blood that could spill.
All its limbs are safe at home
and instead it uses our limbs here.
One gun pursues me with your feet,
another marks you with my eyes,
a third lies on another man's shoulder -
just as this gun lies on yours.
All of its limbs left at home,
it came with only its mouth.
The shoulder is yours but the mouth is his -
a toothless mouth that speaks in bullets.
But when a bullet pierces a man
he doesn't see that gun's toothless mouth;
instead it's your shoulder, your hand he sees,
he takes you for his enemy, not the gun:
and he seeks revenge from you.

Oh warrior of my sacred land
the gun you bear on your shoulder -
how much blood has it spilt on our land
and never been called to account?
You alone are blamed for this blood
and revenge is sought from you
as they hoist another gun to their shoulder
aiming the bullet from its mouth at your heart.

Oh you who crave the crown,
one day this bullet will piece your heart
you’re edging closer to a coffin than a throne -
take care and think again
before the enemy hurls you in a grave.
To save yourself from this dark fate
you must know the enemy who plots your end.
I am your brother: our mutual enemy
lies on your shoulder, crippled, deaf and blind.
It watches my footsteps with your eyes,
it pursues me with your feet
to blast a hole through my chest
and to hear my dying screams with your ears.

6th December, 2001

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