so many borders

time after time we decimate
a land, sketching
lines, invisible but impregnable
and a people who were
once indistinguishable
are now immigrants
if they continue to wander
across to the other side
permission to graze
for the grass does look greener
even their herds
have acquired nationalities
a people who crisscrossed lands
whose cultures were independently identical
now stopped in their tracks
by the wall of nationalism
what do they comprehend
of decisions taken in far away cities
of five-year development plans
when the only future they can see
is the end of this day
if they would be so fortunate

so many borders
such little land

This poem was inspired partly by the book I am currently reading The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad and partly by the post so little, so many. I believe that the most fascinating people in a country are those who live around her borders. This is dedicated to those who are separated by borders, both visible and intangible.

19 thoughts on “so many borders

  1. Pingback: Follow Your Shadow
  2. I was born exactly four years and six months after Partition. I have been to my native Jalandhar a number of times and written of my experience. This beautifully poignant poem holds the crux of my feelings.


  3. Reminds me of a story from a history lesson, I think, in which Kilimanjaro was gifted to the German Kaiser by the British Monarch and that is how it ended up in Tanzania… I asked Kilimanjaro when climbing it many, many years ago, on which side of the border it would have chosen to be… :-)


  4. thanks for a touching and insightful poem – in a sense we are all wanderers at borders – from childhood to adulthood – from parental care to self reliance – from one national culture to others – from our belief systems to those that are alien – from one situation in life to another – from youth to aging – from life to death – and possibly from death to reincarnation?


  5. Dear Sonya,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem. It immediately, to me, brought to mind the idol of nationalism, fueled by the primary idol that, left unchecked, will destroy the world. This is a poem for the people. So very nice.

    All good wishes,



    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this poem. You are right about the unchecked idols that will ultimately tear apart the world as is already happening. I appreciate you honouring this as a poem for the people.

      Best wishes to you as well.


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