Oriya Poet.

A Request to the Dead

I offer this water to you,
My father , grandfather and great grandfather
and to you, soldiers and generals
who fought for us and who fought against us
and who were killed by this war.
I stand here, on this battlefield
and give this water and this rice
to you – you must be hungry
and thirsty.
Ask for nothing
Other than water and rice.
Don’t add to the long list
of things I was not able to give.
be content with this water and this rice
and return
to wherever you came from

Consider this: the years
I’ve spent with you were many;
and this : it will not be long
before I join you wherever you sojourn.
Had I possessed things
other than this water and this rice,
would I have denied them to you
and asked you to return?

Whatever I have
Other than this water and this rice
are surely not appropriate offerings
for departed souls.
True, I traverse every day of my life
With this baggage of withheld things
but whenever I look at them
I disintegrate , and cry out
with a voice that rends
the heavens
and the underworld

Tears fill my eyes
When I make this offering
of water and of rice
I know when my turn comes,
I shall have neither.

Look , the sun has almost set.
Now, go back to wherever you came from
with the little water and the little rice I gave you
Look, I myself do not have
either any water or any rice.
Look , I’ve nothing except the few things
I didn’t give you
and kept with myself.