A Tribute To Gabriela Mistral

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.

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About Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 22 published books: Seven collections of poetry; three of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award---2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015. Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA: http://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html For more details, please visit the website: https://sunil-sharma.com/

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