As part of the Philosophy Day Celebration, a competition was held by the Department of Philosophy. There were two categories under which students could participate, Word-Interpretation and Picture-Anaylsis. For Picture-Analysis we gave a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth, titled Christina’s World (1948). The winning entry for this category was submitted by Mariam Rauf, IIIrd Year, Sociology.
Yearn the Barn
Yearning, what is she yearning for?
That home, what is it home to?
Those socks, are they musty, too?
Musty, just as her mind, unknown to its being –
A body full grown in youth, robust,
A skin, aglow but betraying,
Of sleepless nights.
The wind blew not in her hair,
But in crook of her elbow
Tasted the sweat in that hollow,
Savoured the sodium, disliked the self-doubt
Its flavour so nasty, the socks would win any day.
What looks like a trodden path to that home
May be nothing but a trap,
Hansel and Gretel getting her eaten
By the witch, as they’re getting eaten anyhow.
She was no hero, no saviour.
Free of sin not even a saint could be.
Where are we? Who are we?
Who is nice? Who is naught?
As if she were the first to ask these.
Agape she lay on the grass, yearning,
The grass, this time, yellower on the other side
This green grass of luxury, of knowledge,
Did not come without pains of doubt –
Pangs! One by one attacking everything she knew!
“Get out, get out, let me be what I always thought I would be!”
“Too late”, said Misery.
Her hair in a bun, a wig
To comfort bystanders that a lady did not truly have her locks shorn.
Her dress a pretense, above the wife-beaters she truly loved.
‘Wife-beaters’. Oh, what a term.
Stability, security, solidity, sensibility –
The poured like rains of gold from that house.
A fence, a farm, a house, a barn,
What more could anyone want?
A separate quarter for the servants,
A chimney that would puff out dead turkeys sacrificed
In the name of sacrifice and friendship,
A large threshold to welcome large heads
With larger pearls adorning their chests
In their hands presents of shot tigers’ dead cells,
The ‘maids’ nodding their heads in assent, ringing bells –
What pretense! What glory!
There, lay another house.
This one had no chimney, no pompous doorway,
A flat plain wall did it have, with no fence of visitors
Horse-drawn vehicles had no parking here,
Come with an apple or take away one with a smile when you leave.
Did she deserve this house?
Is she so distraught she’s lost her mind?
Were they right? Were they?
To her more stable days she would rewind.
The spirit came to her while she lay awake
Staring into the abyss that stared back,
Gave her a kiss and looked mesmerized
“Why do you look –“she pondered?
It told her she was blind.
That she was lost, because she didn’t see –
It mattered not whether she was on the grass for nights galore,
It did not matter she knew not how she passed her days,
She was adamant, but the spirit was a goddamned fighter too –
“You exude grace”, it said.
There was no holding in of a breath,
There was no breath at all.
In that blink, the fan stopped revolving,
The words inked everything,
Wrote themselves on the wall,
The wall of a million fairy lights spun around recycled cycle wheels.
Everything would churn on its own.
She yearned for nothing.
She was Grace.
– Mariam Rauf