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More poems by Allen GinsbergAllen Ginsberg | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments (1) | Books by Allen GinsbergBooks by Allen Ginsberg

September On Jessore Road

Allen Ginsberg

Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road--long bamboo huts
Noplace to shit but sand channel ruts

Millions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to go

One Million aunts are dying for bread
One Million uncles lamenting the dead
Grandfather millions homeless and sad
Grandmother millions silently mad

Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless alone

Millions of souls nineteenseventyone
homeless on Jessore road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan

Taxi September along Jessore Road
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load
past watery fields thru rain flood ruts
Dung cakes on treetrunks, plastic-roof huts

Wet processions   Families walk
Stunted boys    big heads don't talk
Look bony skulls   & silent round eyes
Starving black angels in human disguise

Mother squats weeping & points to her sons
Standing thin legged    like elderly nuns
small bodied    hands to their mouths in prayer
Five months small food    since they settled there

on one floor mat   with small empty pot
Father lifts up his hands at their lot
Tears come to their mother's eye
Pain makes mother Maya cry

Two children together    in palmroof shade
Stare at me   no word is said
Rice ration, lentils   one time a week
Milk powder for warweary infants meek

No vegetable money or work for the man
Rice lasts four days    eat while they can
Then children starve    three days in a row
and vomit their next food   unless they eat slow.

On Jessore road    Mother wept at my knees
Bengali tongue    cried mister Please
Identity card    torn up on the floor
Husband still waits    at the camp office door

Baby at play I was washing the flood
Now they won't give us any more food
The pieces are here in my celluloid purse
Innocent baby play    our death curse 

Two policemen surrounded     by thousands of boys
Crowded waiting    their daily bread joys
Carry big whistles    & long bamboo sticks
to whack them in line    They play hungry tricks

Breaking the line   and jumping in front 
Into the circle    sneaks one skinny runt
Two brothers dance forward    on the mud stage
Teh gaurds blow their whistles    & chase them in rage

Why are these infants    massed in this place
Laughing in play    & pushing for space
Why do they wait here so cheerful   & dread
Why this is the House where they give children bread

The man in the bread door   Cries & comes out
Thousands of boys and girls    Take up his shout
Is it joy? is it prayer?    "No more bread today"
Thousands of Children  at once scream "Hooray!"

Run home to tents    where elders await
Messenger children   with bread from the state
No bread more today! & and no place to squat
Painful baby, sick shit he has got.

Malnutrition skulls thousands for months
Dysentery drains    bowels all at once
Nurse shows disease card    Enterostrep
Suspension is wanting    or else chlorostrep

Refugee camps    in hospital shacks
Newborn lay naked    on mother's thin laps
Monkeysized week old    Rheumatic babe eye
Gastoenteritis Blood Poison    thousands must die

September Jessore    Road rickshaw
50,000 souls   in one camp I saw
Rows of bamboo    huts in the flood 
Open drains, & wet families waiting for food

Border trucks flooded, food cant get past,
American Angel machine   please come fast!
Where is Ambassador Bunker today?
Are his Helios machinegunning children at play?

Where are the helicopters of U.S. AID?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok's green shade.
Where is America's Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day and all night?

Where are the President's Armies of Gold?
Billionaire Navies    merciful Bold?
Bringing us medicine    food and relief?
Napalming North Viet Nam    and causing more grief?

Where are our tears?  Who weeps for the pain?
Where can these families go in the rain?
Jessore Road's children close their big eyes
Where will we sleep when Our Father dies?

Whom shall we pray to for rice and for care?
Who can bring bread to this shit flood foul'd lair?
Millions of children alone in the rain!
Millions of children weeping in pain!

Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe
Ring out ye voices for Love we don't know
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain
Ring in the conscious of America brain

How many children are we who are lost
Whose are these daughters we see turn to ghost?
What are our souls that we have lost care?
Ring out ye musics and weep if you dare--

Cries in the mud by the thatch'd house sand drain
Sleeps in huge pipes in the wet shit-field rain
waits by the pump well, Woe to the world!
whose children still starve    in their mother's arms curled.

Is this what I did to myself in the past?
What shall I do Sunil Poet I asked?
Move on and leave them without any coins?
What should I care for the love of my loins?

What should we care for our cities and cars?
What shall we buy with our Food Stamps on Mars?
How many millions sit down in New York
& sup this night's table on bone & roast pork?

How many millions of beer cans are tossed
in Oceans of Mother? How much does She cost?
Cigar gasolines and   asphalt car dreams
Stinking the world and dimming star beams--

Finish the war in your breast    with a sigh
Come tast the tears    in your own Human eye
Pity us millions of phantoms you see
Starved in Samsara   on planet TV

How many millions of children die more
before our Good Mothers perceive the Great Lord?
How many good fathers pay tax to rebuild 
Armed forces that boast    the children they've killed?

How many souls walk through Maya in pain
How many babes    in illusory pain?
How many families   hollow eyed  lost?
How many grandmothers    turning to ghost?

How many loves who never get bread?
How many Aunts with holes in their head?
How many sisters skulls on the ground?
How many grandfathers   make no more sound?

How many fathers in woe
How many sons   nowhere to go?
How many daughters    nothing to eat?
How many uncles   with swollen sick feet?

Millions of babies in pain
Millions of mothers in rain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of children    nowhere to go

                                        New York, November 14-16, 1971

Added: 25 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 28 Jul 2014 8:19 AM | Viewed: 7449 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3756/ | Viewed on 28 July 2014.
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