Children by the River

K Radhakumar

On the banks of the river Nambul
We rolled sand and water into a ball,
Made it smooth by rubbing it with
Dry and golden sands, and dirty palms,
And then buried it in the sand to bake.
We, balls of fire
Played ball on the banks
And no ball of fire burned in the sky.

We knew no rules
We kicked, we jumped
We dived for the ball but missed
And we laughed to cover it.
Someone fell, and as he fell
His head collided with another’s ankle –
We laughed out loud all the same.

We built houses with sand,
Picked pebbles of different colours
And played with hollow shells.
We floated our boats
Of dry sticks and grasses
On the waters of the river.

Did we seek a life
To be endowed with meaning
And face its meaninglessness?
No, we did not even ask for its meaning
We just played with total abandon
And when it was over
We went back home
Yes, we just played, we just lived
And it appears we would just die
When the time for death comes
With no remorse and not at all guilty
But as a continuation in another form.

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