To stand just once, as my foremothers stood
on humped mud-markers between their paddy rows;
to feel the same earth that once held their shadows,
to dip and drink from that vast solitude
that was once their sky, stop at a ruined shrine
where they knelt; rest in a mango orchard
touched by their work-roughened hands, and nurtured
offhand in leisure, planted without design,
a crude hammock hitched there some monsoon day.
I’ve loved my amber earth as it is, but still
I’d have been a deeper, broader tranquil
had I been able to touch that old pathway.
Yet, all mud’s wind-blown. And as likely true -soil that dusts my feet might have crumbed theirs too.
I belong to the third generation of a "Partition" family. My family origins lie in a village that is deep in rural Bangladesh now. I have this dream of going back there on a visit some day.
The picture is of a traditional Bengali temple in a 400 year-old rural homestead in West Bengal.