Skip to main content

Magic Morsel - A Tale in Verse

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

Related Articles