The Marching Millions

By Bhuwan Thapaliya

Every moment
the pandemic slashes us
into pieces,
pauses our heart
as the scruffiness
of industrial graveyards
against which trodden grass
and plants strive to survive.

However, we manage to
sew ourselves somehow and wonder,
when and how we would reclaim a normal life.

Anger mounts, patience wears thin.
Moths lit up our sky, our stars are very dim.
We are in the shadows; the virus is making
mockery of our misery, pandemic stinks.

We are the marching millions.
Our journey never ends.
The more we march towards hope
the more our hope moves
further away from us.

Eyes closed and hands together in prayer
we bow our heads to the ground.
Our prayers may not be audible enough
to carry messages of a people’s faith
to the gods themselves.

We have become
as insignificant as motifs
on a mud wall.
The rhetoric of normality
goes far beyond us.

Bhuwan Thapaliya is a poet writing in English from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections. His poems and articles have been widely published in journals and periodicals. Thapaliya has read his poetry and attended seminars in venues around the world, including South Korea, India, the United States, Thailand, Cambodia, and Nepal.

A poem could develop from a face on the street, or from a pastoral folk song. It could develop while mixing a salad, or dabbling in my favorite Italian cuisine. It could also erupt from anywhere. When India announced the first COVID-19 lockdown, hundreds and thousands of Nepali citizens/workers living in India gathered at the India – Nepal borders and then stayed there for many days in dire conditions as by then borders had been closed down and only essential services were allowed to pass through, leaving all the workers trapped at the border. After their protests in the border they were allowed in and they stared marching to their homes by any means of transportation, even walking miles. It was so hard to see them suffering and the scene broke my heart and I wrote this poem ‘The Marching Millions.’ The plight of the millions is not over. The Covid-19 is mutating. Nepalese Economy is in doldrums. Poverty, unemployment, bribery, favoritism and nepotism are staring at us without blinking their covetous eyes. Yes, there are still dirges in the air but a fabric of hopefulness is being slowly restored on the premises of our heart.  The weaving of dreams, printing of belief, crafting of tolerance is all done. Hope this covid ends soon and I can’t wait to write another poem ‘The Happy Millions.’ Thank You.

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