A Letter to Ama*

Suraj Gurung

O Ama, you mustn’t shed your tears now.
The dream I owe you
has ignited into a blaze.
I dance with that fire
joining the people’s struggle for freedom.

Treading a path soaked in blood
I fight to reclaim our lost home.
I set aside the blank paper
and the bluntly dead pen
To restore
The identity lost from your face
The destiny line erased from your forehead
To end the exploitation you’ve endured for ages.
Standing on this blood-stained earth
this scorched soil
I can’t offer you a flower-poem, Ama.
Do not ask me for verses of blossoms.
The spade, shovel, hammer, and axe you passed down
Have become the weapons of the oppressed.
I once thought –
– The spade was to break the barren land
– The shovel for lifting sweat-drenched soil
– The hammer for building dreams
– The axe for the proletarian’s struggle.
But, Ama, we are engulfed in confusion.
The oppressor has turned these tools
Into tools of war
Forcing an innocent like me to fight.
I am now a warrior in a people’s war
Battling against
The injustice, exploitation, and oppression
That have shadowed us forever.
Do not ask me for flower-poems now.
In these troubled waters
joy in writing has drowned.
I would rather live for a moment on the battlefield
With the hope of restoring
your existence
your identity
And the golden dream you lost.
I would rather die
To bring life back to you.
So, Ama, let your tears cease.
For now
it is only your time
to prepare the shroud for me.

* Ama=Mother

(Translated from Nepali by Raaja Puniani)