When I was young, my father told me
Mamoni, be like the earth
solid and selfless and unshakable—
let others do to you what they wish
you shall endure it all in stoic silence.
This is why we call the earth ‘Mother’
she bears our weight without complaint
as all women must learn to do.
Sacrifice, he told me,
sacrifice is your soul.
Little girls are taught not to argue
not to talk back, so I stifled my protests
bit my tongue against the bewilderment in my heart
And as I grew, I tried to be the ideal daughter,
sister, friend, oh, I strived so hard towards sacrifice
but I could never quite kneel low enough.
I was always a shade too wild,
too arrogant, too defiant—
I’d let them hit me first but then I’d strike back.
So my father would shout me into submission,
watch as I wept my anger away
and remind me—Mamoni,
be the earth. Bear it.
But Baba, now I know who I am.
I am the wildfire that tears through serene forests
Burning and blazing amongst the twining trees
Sparing none in my path to absolution.
I am alight with devastating power,
I am aglow with the promise of rebirth.
I am the white waves that batter at your shores
A swirling tempest of saltwater
That seems docile until it surges forward
And washes the world away in its seething fury.
I soothe your troubled thoughts with my sweet sonance
But try to lay claim to my soul
and I will swallow you whole.
Yes, I am indeed the earth,
solid and selfless and unbreakable,
But I will never be silent.
You meant well, Baba, yet how wrong you were
The earth does not bear our weight quietly, no,
she roars and shakes,
sends tremors through our hearts when she quakes.
She lends us shelter, sustenance, she cares for our needs,
but abuse her charity
and in a blink she lays waste to base human greed.
And, now, do you see?
Sacrifice is but a part of me—
I am earth, and fire, and sea,
I will not give myself to those who do not deserve me.
By Amrita Chakraborty
A.C. is a 20 year old writer based in New York. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and attempting to understand life by writing copious amounts of poetry and petting as many cats as she can. In her free time, A. can be found lost in a library somewhere, thinking dreamily about all the places in the world she has yet to visit, or staring at the stars with a slightly slack-jawed expression.