Indo-Guyanese Women Poets

Rajkumari Singh

No More Kitchree For the Groom (est. 1971)

I squirmed
for me, for you, 
especially for the young Hindu bride who, 
but a while ago, 
smiled in maiden innocence, 
glowing in magenta wedding garb, 
sindoor brilliant on straight hair-part, 
eager on the threshold of womanhood. 

In an instant this unique emotion gave way 
To hurt dismay, 
shattering  dreams, joys, ideals, 
as groom and relatives played 
a game of cheap bargaining 
for costlier, more lucrative gifts, 
as though treasured maiden daughter 
was snatched from a brothel 
to bag a husband. 

Where in the scriptures is it writ
that groom in Sasur’s home 
should slight the kanyadaan
in lieu of filthy lucre 
with saffron rice 
honourably placed to satisfy 
the physical hunger? 

Fathers, brothers, uncles: Hindu men arise! 
Let not diabolical custom 
defile the consecrated Maro, 
humiliating Innocence, Parents, Man. 

Away… away with it now! 
No more kitchree for the groom! 

Babu (est. 1971)

Huddled by the front door
of a decayed, rat-infested logie, 
victim of rain and sun 
Babu’s eyes scan the canefield horizons… 

Whiplash explodes from sunburnt hands 
leering blue eyes in hardened faces 
a jingling of copper coins 
a dumb powerless diety 
dancing a dance of images. 

images of immigrant ships
barrack confinements
cutlasses, decapitated women 
dance in rhythm of seasons 

an enclosed world of canefields 
waves of spluttering factory smoke
days of rotating nothingness 

In a heave of impatience 
Babu swirled like a ballet dancer 
strong and flexible 

Generations nurtured from my seeds
will clasp their hands and say
our ancestors carved those fields 
which have given us meanings 
meanings to stand tall 
This is ours too. 

About Rajkumari Singh 

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