J. P. DAS (India)
Dr. J.P. Das is a well-known, versatile poet, playwright and fiction writer from Orissa. He gave up his profession as an IAS officer to devote himself full-time to creative writing and research. His works have been widely translated in many Indian languages, and his plays have been staged in different parts of the country. He is also an art connoisseur and has written several books on the arts and crafts of Orissa. Das has been honoured with several national and international awards. He is the Vice-President of FOSWAL.

There Are No Islands

A leaf falls
and there is turmoil
in the outer spaces.
The line on your palm
moves a fraction
and stars and planets
change their course.
The gentle quiver
of the rolling waves
in a faraway sea
caresses the wings
of siberian birds
on their long flight
to warmer lakes.
Blessings from the lips
of farseeing prophets,
from across light years,
brighten up the future
of children yet to be born.
Bullets flying in Sarajevo
cross countries and continents
to hit the unknown man
walking the peace march
in a distant land.
Unremitting hunger
of Somalia and Kalahandi
of airconditioned homes
in affluent cities.
Virus from cast-off cadavers
threatens the complacence
of the bluest blood.
Sighs of the Third World
turn into nightmares
and disturb the slumber
and metropolises of the world.
There are no islands.
The whole mankind stands
hand in hand
in an unbroken chain
awestruck at the anguish
of the weakest
and the lowliest man.