Culture & Society

Wife: A Prose Poem By Durga Prasad Panda

Durga Prasad Panda writes a poem for Outlook.

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Ploughed by men for ages, she’s just a clod of soft earth,
a swampy patch of forest. Each time, with the sticky flow
of her menstrual blood, a part of her gets flushed down
the drain. From deep within her she losses a little of herself.
Out there, the world knows she’s available for his precious
seeds, ready to be sown upon and bear fruit. She goes on
polishing the hard stone of his male ego to keep it shining
all the time. She knows all the dark conspiracies behind
keeping her all lush green. Getting cheated thus falls into
a dead habit. A faint smile keeps playing at the corner of
her lips. What else to do, as all the escape routes lead to
newer, darker hells and her most intimate enemy sleeps
beside her. She soaks into herself all the fire and heat of
his disgusting body and burn alongside him. At times she
feels like spitting into his sweat soaked face but at that
precise moment he looks like the most pitiable beast
prowling on this earth. She wonders if she’s that cursed
patch of land which failed to crack open despite a lifetime
of shame, anger and humiliation but still carry inside her
dark womb the foetus of a bright, innocent, morning sun.

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(Durga Prasad Panda is an accomplished bilingual poet, translator, and critic whose works have appeared in prestigious journals across the country and abroad. A significant voice of freshness, he is recognised among the foremost poets writing in Odia today who has attended several symposiums including the World Congress of Poets in 2019. Most recently, he has edited a reader on the works of eminent poet Jayanta Mahapatra. His honours include Indian Literature Translation Award, 2002 from Sahitya Akademi, among so many others.)

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