You are earth

You are earth long poem

With no mother to groom you,
you grew as a wild child.

with no gardener to prune you,
you grew as a wild shrub.

as a stone, you rolled on riverbeds,
rolled down mountains,
rolled in the hands of strangers,
shaped by the weight of your will
and the curves of your course.

you were not made as the sculptures are made,
by some eccentric artist within the four walls of his workshop.

you were made as great mountains are made.
as little stones are made.
by sun and seasons, not by chisels and hammers.

now, your face stands as a rock
carved by tireless waves.
now, your hair spreads as a forest
shaped by endless rains.
now, your body stretches as a terrain
formed by storms and streams.

now, you live as earth itself,
wild and varied!

ah! I have known it!
I have known it!

for long, I traveled the desert of your body.
your breasts rose as giant sand dunes,
without a drop of milk.
your lips dry as broken land,
without a drop of water.
for days, for weeks on end, I walked,
till I lay down as a defeated child,
as a confused lover, but only to hear the running water.
suddenly, your legs stretched as banks
through which rivers flowed in abundance.
suddenly, your breasts rose as giant mountains.
suddenly, your lips parted as the ocean, inviting me.
for days, for weeks on end, I walked,
till I lay down as a drunken lover,
only to hear the snow beginning to fall.

I have known it!
I have known it!

you are earth and you live
as the earth lives with all its contradictions,
with deserts and rivers,
with dead bodies and seeds,
and I love you!

my love, others may not recognise you.
I won’t blame them.
you are not beautiful as the models
that fill certain magazine covers
with perfect breasts.
you are beautiful as the crooked branches are beautiful.
as the unpredictable pebbles are beautiful.

you are not the lady in scented sarees.
you wear no clothes. yours is the mixed smell
of the earth, of fumes, of flowers.

why would you wear scented sarees?
what saree does the earth need to wear?

why would you learn healthy manners?
what manners does the earth need to learn?

oh! to hell with them!
all that matter is you are earth.
that your flesh flows in my hand as dust and dense clay.
that your skin feels as the smooth sands of rivers.
that your lips, your ears, your cheek
bring back to my mouth the taste of mud.

all that matters is you are earth
and you lie as the earth,
naked, yielding to my touch,
shifting under me, as I plough you
with a farmer’s heart.

oh! for long, I have longed to enter your hips,
your enormous hips, wide as the plains,
that can take a thousand lovers!

oh! for long, I have longed to fill you
with my seeds, so that you wake up
with fruits in your belly!

oh! for long, I have longed to be a man!

This poem is part of the Poetry Book Oblivion

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Balaji Gopalan

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I owe all of my poetry to the influence of Pablo Neruda. Reading him 10 years ago on the beaches of Goa, gave me the permission to be who I am and write what I feel. My poetry has never been the same after that. All that I write is an offering to Neruda.
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