Today, the challenge is to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. This may not be a “fun” prompt, but loss is one of the most universal and human experiences, and some of the world’s most moving art is an effort to understand and deal with it.

My poem is an elegy for a soldier from his wife.


 

                                                Poem: Elegy for my hero

 

Flowers, incense, candles, and a priest

Friends- your and mine; neighbors- familiar and unknown; and our families

All dressed in white- the color of grief, they say, per our religion

Religious hymns being chanted; prayers being offered

Heaven, is what, they feel you deserved,

For you sacrificed your life, for the love of country

 

 

Your coffin, I saw them bring; a last look, I implored

But even a glance, I wasn’t allowed

You arrived in bits and pieces, they said

‘Were they able to gather all your body parts?’

‘The hands, the legs, the feet, the head, and the chest- where lived your heart’

‘Were they sure it was you? Many were dead after that ghastly bomb blast’

 

 

A soldier’s wife,’ I addressed myself with pride; entire life

A martyr’s wife,’ they would call me now; with grief or pride?

Our daughter’s birthday, the day they blasted you off

She awaits her birthday gift- the doll you promised.

The broken dial of your watch, the frame of your spectacles,

the remnants of your shoes- in a box, they gifted me

 

 

Parting- a way of life for a soldier’s wife,

You always consoled, before you packed your bags

Hope to see you soon,’ I harbored the feeling in my heart

Hope now stands shattered, heart grieves,

Parting is now eternal,’ your voice echoes from the coffin

Towards you, my soul guides-

 

 

I feel your touch, I listen to your voice, I savor your smell

Alas! It’s you,’ endorsed my heart.

 

                                                            ©Vandana Bhasin

                                                                        18.04.2019

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