A child’s tiny feet,
Blue, blue with cold,
How can they see and not protect you?
Oh, my God!
Tiny wounded feet,
Bruised all over by pebbles,
Abused by snow and soil!
Man, being blind, ignores
that where you step, you leave
A blossom of bright light,
that where you have placed
your bleeding little soles
a redolent tuberose grows.
Since, however, you walk
through the streets so straight,
you are courageous, without fault.
Child’s tiny feet,
Two suffering little gems,
How can the people pass, unseeing.
O great mother to all the invisible kids of the world!
You wrote these lines in 1922
Yet they sound so true even in 2015!
The world never heard your heart-felt appeal
The crying of a heart for a child of the street
With bleeding feet.
For the Chilean poet
Adopted by other versifiers as a symbol of protest
Their icon and teacher
You show the snow and the path underneath
Those two suffering little gems
And how empathy works across the
Time-space continuum for poetic hearts;
You make us see the blood trail left by a poor child
Where tuberose springs up fast.
Things have not changed much here in the Indian streets
The child worker, bare-feet and ill-clad, matted hair,
Brown-eyed, hollow-faced, hunting food bins and rubbish
For daily survival in a gleaming city with flying cars and beckoning malls
Full of a sunny smile and hope, despite being Unseen by the surging mass!
On lonely nights, perhaps, another Oliver Twist hears your songs and bucks up for another day
Of hard war against a system denying him inclusion, agency and rights.