Poverty Today


Upper caste,
Lower caste;
No caste-
Backward castes
Forwardly cast.
Ruling castes.
Forward caste,
Backward caste,
Scheduled caste,




The Shop Floor

Sweepers work on
Hands and knees.
Dirt and water wiped
From side to side,
Revealing briefly a virgin
Canvas of tiles
To be defiled.

Foul feet fall
Without a thought
For the sweeper
That time forgot.
Wrapped in his rag,
Chequered and torn,
A beast, a burden
Shamefully born.

Suffer the poor.
Soles upon soles,
Filth upon filth
Coating the floor.
A lifetime spent
In the footsteps
Of his brothers,
Recycling the grime
Deposited by others.









Blaming God

A God turns
In his grave
As faces turn
Away in shame.
Their duties shunned,
Their poor ignored;
Doomed to die
Doing others chores.

God has willed –
So they say,
Their lives, our lives,
So accept. Walk on
Forget the view,
Discomforting smells
Of them, not you.



Living Hell

Pieces of mind,
Scattered brain.
Left to think
And go insane.
Before the stares
Of wondering eyes
Peering into private lives;
Lived in public
On the street,
By the urinal,
In the heap.
By sight or smell
From this, their
Unimaginable hell.




Street Life

A golden dawn breaks
Through the mask of night,
Revealing the darkness of the poor,
Clutching at the fraying hems
Of a better life,
Passing by, without shame.

Ladies labour fruitlessly,
Pregnant with their dreams;
Conceived and miscarried
On the streets of their birth.
Baptised in an unholy sangam
Of blood, sweat and tears.

Faces as creased and worn
As the rags that obscure them,
Offer their empty hands
To the silhouettes and beyond.
Into the blinding light –
Into the dream.






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