In the wee hours does he wake daily,               weary and dazed – under woodsmoke haze
To the eerie howls of jackals,                            he strolls
And visits yonder fields of paddy,                     with a sickle in hand – frail and tanned
To reap the crop ‘neath the hills of Maikal.

Enshrined by the cragged silhouettes,              old and somber – by the flicker of ember
Under darkest sky with a tinge of blue,             he feels
His hands hack the wetted spikelets,                cold and thin – cracks on skin
As dawn breaks to clear the hue.

The rustling ears fall to the moist earth,          every grain godsent – on a lifetime spent
And he gathers the golden seeds,                     he prays
This is wealth that for him is worth,                 for the future – of nature and nurture
For it is all his family needs.

His day ends with a mountain of tasks,           countlessly weighted – earnestly devoted
‘Til the Maikal shadows mask                           he hears
As the trees murmur on a full moon night       an old song – distant and forlorn
He closes his eyes by the warm firelight.

Among wild woods and shadowed vales,        forgotten and unheard – lost and blurred
Where the deer and the tiger roam,                   he dreams
Neath’ the hills of Maikal is an untold tale       of the life of yore – the past and before
Of he who calls the wild his home.
--                                                                            --

Today marks the full moon day closest to Autumnal Equinox (September 23, 2019), the beginning of winter. On this day of the harvest moon, I present a poem written twelve years ago – when Maikal hills were Goliath the Grey, and the labours of mankind seemingly peaceful. It was revisited and reshaped to match with the landscape that helped me grow.
If by chance you have discovered the accompanying stanzas of this poem, you may be able to see the whole picture: the hidden, old, frail, forgotten story of India’s countryside. Aratorem is Latin for cultivator (one-who-cultivates), a farmer.