Saturday, Mar 25, 2023

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady

A poem for the iron lady of Manipur, Irom Sharmila

Your hunger, a camel through a desert

Sixteen years long.  You drank up

Days of sand. At night you ate stars. You forgot

Your hair in the mirror where you

Last saw your face. Far away from home

You met a mirage of faces. 

Some gave you promises. Others, prayers.

Time smelt of iron in the gut.

Until one day, a bird sat on your shoulder

And whispered to you,

There is no end to this walking.

It’s time to fly.


You have freed your people, Irom,

From the dream, where   

They see you eat from your mother’s hands. 

--Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee


(Manash ‘Firaq’ Bhattacharjee is a poet, writer, translator and political science scholar. His poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, Rattle, The Fortnightly Review, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Mudlark, Metamorphoses, Modern Poetry in Translation, etc. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib's Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University, New Delhi.)