//Poetry from Earth

Poetry from Earth

Bahinabai was born in the Khandesh region of Maharashtra in late 19th century. An agricultural labourer, she was married at 13 and became a widow at 30. She wrote (sorry, she was illiterate, she sang) hundreds of poetic couplets of great insight, wisdom, philosophy, and hope from her life.

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“See the art of the birds…. Dear humans
She has a little beak… that’s her teeth as well as her lips
God has given you two hands and ten fingers.”

“If it lets you sleep hungry, don’t call it a night
If it doesn’t allow you to give, don’t call it a hand.”

“O Man, when would you become human?
You have turned greed into everyday custom.”

“So royal is the farmer, walking barefooted,
Look under his feet, the thorns are bent.”

“O, grinding stone! Just as flower comes out of you,
My song comes out of from my belly to my lips.”

 

Her son once asked, “Mother you toil so hard every day, at home and in the farm and your eyes are always downcast. Then how do you come up with such extraordinary thoughtful and imagery words that none of us gets?” Bahinabai answered, “Sopan, my dear… I can see heaven in the mirror of this earth…”

“Breathing begins – Breathing ends, that’s what life means
What separates life and death is but merely a breath.”

 

The author is a former Director of Gurjarvani centre for communication and currently an environmental activist at Sevasi, Vadodara.