Arise

You stumble up to the microphone, trip over stories.
Pages soak in your hands, you say you’re sorry for crying. I can see the poor reflected in your eyes, children, women, dying, in dried out rivers full of dirt. Last summer, you stammer, last summer and your trip to India, last summer when a thousand little Dalit orphans suddenly had names.

You think that people should be shaken at your words. You think the photographs should mean something and people ought to care. You spend your days writing letters, sitting up in bed, discarding the thoughts of another slow walk round the hill.

You’re waiting for a message, but He has given you one word.

And how could they not hear it? How could they still? Its on the television news, in films, in everyones back yard, the no-go areas in town you used to only circle around. Your Summer never ended, whilst others’ just moved on. Tell the world, you tell yourself, find words in their language that mean the same as words in yours. Words like Ashok, Baldev, Kapil. Words like Mandeep, Shilpa, Raj. Find the sentences that tell the story.

Say the word. Just one word.

You draw a line right through your day: a clear decision made. Going back, staying home. You know He changed you either way, and made the choice to change again, and learn again. Caution keeps you from damning everyone with what you know, when a little knowledge makes you worse. You want to feel pricked wherever its numb, every day to be like India, every Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, every season from now on.

There are sermons in your head but just one word is in your heart.

A little louder, a little quieter, a little slower now to speak. But if you could say just one thing, a whispered chant or prayer, say the word you’re meant to say.

Say arise, arise, arise.

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