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Sister Rani Maria (Poem) 

By Joe Palathunkal

What does Sister Rani Maria tell us?
She tells the cost of discipleship;
She tells to poke a spoke with courage
Into the wheel of injustice in your age.
She tells you to walk the Way
Leaving out all your ways
She tells to guard the image of God
Being disfigured with a sword
Which is in the scabbard of sin.

What does Sister Rani Maria tell us?
54 stabs with a smile like that of the yore with a kiss
And you will turn this land an Aceldama
While Barabbas goes scot free for Pharisees to cheer and jeer.
The two faces of Janus you must know
Otherwise knife will pierce your soul.
When you get off from your horse
For the wounded on the wayside
To take him to the inn for healing
The darkened hearts and warped minds
Sitting pretty on the throne of coffers
Will write your epitaph with a dark rusted iron knife.

What does Sister Rani Maria tell us?
She tells to fathom the depth of the Galilee
You must not fear the storm and cloud
But plunge into it, dive into it with a daring and faith
That the one who walked on the depth is by your side.
In a land of lemmings your fellow passengers will be silent
For they think the knives are for the other and only other
Until a Martin Niemoller tells them
Hitler is the shadow behind them
And the devil can come like an angel too.

What does Sister Rani Maria tell us?
In this land you are worshipped as power,
Divine epithets are heaped on you,
Paeans and glories will plague you in the dead pages of the books;
But you burn on the pyre for the dead
And are buried alive while your fellow travelers watch.

Yet Sister Rani Maria tells us
You must see the hearts smeared with tears and blood
And the souls weeping by the rivers of Babylon,
And continue your travel with vigor and power
In spite of the stabs and the howling for your blood!

(Joe Palathunkal (Joseph Palathunkal Mathew) is a poet, essayist and human rights ideologue based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Contact: Mob. 9726800249)

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