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Magic Morsel - A Tale in Verse

Author:

Rinita is a creative writer, with focus on poetry. She delves into several forms including Haiku/Senryu, Sonnets, Free Verse, and Prose.

Background

Through this supernatural tale, I tried to bring forth the plight of migrant workers and starvation issues in my country, which have been at their peak since the onset of the current pandemic. The lockdown has worsened the lives of these daily wage workers and all we can do is pray that things return to normal soon.

Piece of Bread

Piece of Bread

The Poem

I

Over diverse lands they walked

At times on sodden, at times on dry feet

Rested they not, as time was short

Official deadlines they had to meet


Ramakanth was one of the group

Of migrant workers now heading back

There was no work with the virus spread

Three days of food remained in his pack


On the third day, a comrade took ill

Ramakanth benevolently handed him a bread

He was saving the last piece for his daughter

Who slogged hungry at home in his stead


II

They separated at the border, he walked alone

The last couple of morsels now a foe

He couldn’t walk an inch without a bite

Yet his daughter’s face prevented him so


That night, under a dull sky, he lay his aching body

Hunger prevailed and caused his soul to break

He gulped down the last morsel and closed his eyes

All that remained were a few crumbs in its wake


And then he dreamed, oh, what a dream it was!

It was as if he was at the landowner’s yearly feast

Plates full of delectable food, served at ease

Biryani, Poori, Halwa, Jalebi, how much could he eat?


His stomach was full, but the food kept coming

The cuisine was fantastic, ambrosia at its purest

He knew he should stop, but he went on eating

To stop would be to say ‘no’ to the event finest


III

He woke with a start, to a timid sun at the brink

The dawn felt surreal, was he dead untimely?

The aches returned as he stood, refuting the doubts

Yet he found his first step incredibly sprightly


Soon the walk turned to a jog and then to a sprint

His active limbs gladly the remaining journey bore

As he entered the boundaries of his cottage

He felt fatigue no more, hunger no more


There she stood at the gate, Amilia, the daughter

A field hand at the village, her pale eyes spoke

Of days of unattended starvation and solitude

Waiting, wandering, lingering around celestial smoke


IV

Amilia greedily opened her father’s pack, his face fell

The teary-eyed girl stuck the last crumbs on her thumb

Wordlessly she licked them as if it was her first meal

And kept suckling until her thumb was numb


Her frail body gave way and she fell into a slumber

Ramakanth held her hand and began his prayer

Although it was daybreak, doctors were non-existent

The virus had wreaked havoc on the country’s healthcare


For hours he sat at her bedside, until moonrise

When suddenly her bony fingers moved in his hand

The girl sat up, weak but jovial, smiled in the dark

And described a dream of a feast much like the father had


V

In a few days, their little land was tilled

Father-daughter toiled hard to cultivate food

Whatever they could, they distributed in the village

They were never hungry and no one starved for good


“One day”, thought Ramakanth, “this will be over”

And they kept looking forward to that golden sun

The magic morsel transformed their lives so

Their starving days were long gone and outdone


© 2020 Rinita Sen

Comments

Rinita Sen (author) on September 11, 2020:

Thank you for visiting.

bhattuc on September 10, 2020:

Beautiful piece of poetry.

Rinita Sen (author) on September 10, 2020:

Thank you, Miebakagh. Yes, the pandemic has been hard on the less fortunate. I am glad people in your community are growing food.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 26, 2020:

Rinita, I like what I read. The pandemic has its other good side. Even in my local community, people were taking to container farming. Carrots, tomato, garlic, ginger, and potato are being planted and harvest. Thanks.

Rinita Sen (author) on June 02, 2020:

Thank you Verlie. You are right about the resilience of the human spirit. We're bent but not broken easily. Appreciate your visit, fellow poet. It truly is but little that we can do by spreading the word.

Rinita Sen (author) on June 02, 2020:

Thank you Bill. Appreciate your kind comment.

snakeslane on June 02, 2020:

Rinita your poem opens a window into the most extreme unimaginable hardship. Starvation! It is indeed a noble callling to be poet at this time, to give names to those who suffer, to tell their story. That the famished body can find nourishment and strength in dreams, pitiful as that is, speaks volumes about the resiliency of the human spirit. Thanks for telling.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 02, 2020:

This really was a beautiful and delightful story. Well done! Wonderful images and choice of words and phrases.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 29, 2020:

Sowrabha, thank you so much for your visit and kind comment. Yes, pioneers like Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen have always excelled at portraying harsh truths. I'm happy to meet a fellow Ray follower. Truly hope that this all ends soon. Stay safe.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on May 29, 2020:

Hi Rinita, Manatita’s tribute to you got me here and I am glad I made it. Such grim realities so well rendered. I could almost imagine a scene out of Satyajit Ray movie, only it ended with hope. Hope made all the pain a little more bearable. Hope and pray that things get better for everybody.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 23, 2020:

Thank you for your thoughts and concerns, manatita. Couldn't have said it better. Yea, we continue to pray. I believe in its strength.

manatita44 from london on May 23, 2020:

I identify with what you are saying, Rinita. Many black and Asian people are dying in disproportionate numbers. The cause is complex, but one of the issues is what you mention. There is a social isolation and depression, even in the best of times and India is by no means separate, but yes, with 1.4 billion people, it's not easy.

Man is still struggling to live with man and the disparity of wealth and opulence are huge! We have a kind of cast system mentality and status quo here too, driven by greed and the feeling of separation. 'Nuff rant.

A beautiful piece! Prayer is energy in the ether and can transform souls. Some Yogi's never manifest in the world, but from the Himalayas and beyond, they send healing thoughts to our world. Jai Ram!

Rinita Sen (author) on May 22, 2020:

Thanks again, Greg.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 22, 2020:

Yes, I'm certain it is, Rinita. Knowing that, hearing it from you, puts a hollow pit in my stomach. My best to you.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 22, 2020:

Thank you Greg. Appreciate your kind comment. I'm elated that my poem could produce such an effect as you described. The reality is, of course, a lot harsher than my poem. Thanks again for your visit.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 22, 2020:

Rinita - heartache, heartbreak, empathy, sympathy accompanied my reading of this. Such lean times most of us have never known. Your words make it hurt to watch the scene unfold, but they also make it impossible to look away. That is poetry. Nicely done.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 19, 2020:

Li-Jen, I'm so happy to see you friend. I was wondering where you were. As usual, your analysis is to the point and provides brilliant insights. I'm well and hope you are too. Thanks for stopping by today.

Li-Jen Hew on May 19, 2020:

Hi Rinita, hope you are well. Thanks for enlightening us with your message about migrant workers. I like how the poem mimics crumbs or morsel as the journey the father took was long before becoming "whole" or having no more hunger. The journey is also cut temporarily by the dream, ironically stressing that their lives are full of hardship. I was expecting the worst but you got me there. You showed us there's hope in the end. You make us more kind with your empathy. Thank you for sharing.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 09, 2020:

Thank you Pamela. Yes, all we can do is hope for better times, throughout the world. Happy to see you today.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 09, 2020:

This is a well-written poem about a sad topic. This pandemic has hurt so mant people in numerous countries. I hope a recovery happens soon.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 07, 2020:

Than you Dora. Appreciate your kind comment. The reality is grim, hence the sad element. We can only hope for a better tomorrow for the unfortunate ones who have been hit hard. Thank you again for visiting.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 06, 2020:

Mostly sad, but you gave a gleam of hope at the end. Your poem is beautifully done even if the story it tells is not all happy.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 05, 2020:

Thank you for your heartfelt comment, Ruby. I'm so elated to know that you donate to a food bank. I hope they are still operating in these times. Yes, we often take the food on our table for granted and could do well to remember those poor souls and eat only what's required. Thank you so much for visiting.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 05, 2020:

Oh this is so beautiful and the thought of hunger breaks my heart. We have a food bank here and we all give. I will think of this poetry at every mealtime, and perhaps I will not want much to eat.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 05, 2020:

Thank you Mr. Singh. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good to see you.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 05, 2020:

Thank you Lorna. Yes, all we can do these days is hope for a better tomorrow, especially for those who are less fortunate. Appreciate your visit.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 05, 2020:

That's a nice tale in verse. So emotional

Lorna Lamon on May 05, 2020:

You have created a story of struggle and hope Rinita. In many cases the choice is the virus or not being able to eat. Your story had a hopeful ending, something we need to hold on to. Beautifully and sensitively written.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 05, 2020:

Ah! Thank you, John. I'm happy you enjoyed the story till the end. Appreciate your visit today.

Rinita Sen (author) on May 05, 2020:

Thank you so much Ann. I'm delighted that you found the words well conveyed. Glad to see you.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 05, 2020:

What a delightful story, Rinita. I worried for the fate of the daughter but it turned out well. This was an enjoyable read.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 05, 2020:

Beautiful! What more can I say? You have such a knack of finding the best words and you paint a wonderful picture of emotions.

Ann