Shanta Acharya – Wokeness

Acharya LE P&W 2 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Nov-Dec 2023.

Wokeness, poem by Shanta Acharya.


Lying awake all night examining this life,
an hour glass on the run, is no cure for jet-lag.
Tossing and turning, an unusual homecoming
with street dogs howling, cats yowling,
the bellow of an insomniac bull, bone chilling.
A young female’s piercing cry shatters me.
In the land of my birth a woman is raped
every fifteen minutes. Shouldering the pain
and suffering of the world, night loses track of time.
Decades appear like yesterday – memory
of father dying, disappearing in a pyre of flames.
Never told him how much he meant to me.
How could I when the continent of my loss
keeps growing with the passage of time?
A car dodging potholes, horns blaring, jump-starts
me, disorienting as a plethora of roosters
cock-a-doodling-doo day and night without warning.
Accustomed to the muezzin’s call to prayer
after the ecstatic dawn chorus that brings blessings
of sleep, this year’s silence usurps my peace.
I wait all morning for the salawāt to begin.

© Shanta Acharya

Shanta Acharya’s recent poetry collections are What Survives Is the Singing (2020), Imagine: New and Selected Poems (2017) and Dreams That Spell The Light (2010). Her doctoral study, The Influence of Indian Thought on Ralph Waldo Emerson, was published in 2001 and her novel, A World Elsewhere, in 2015. Her poems, reviews, and articles have featured in journals and anthologies, internationally. The author of seven poetry collections, her poems have been translated into several languages.

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