The Festival

I remember the day the doctor nodded and confirmed

your arrival

How happy I was, how contented!

I felt you grow inside me

With every twist and turn, with every kick,

My heart squeezed with joy, and did its own jig!

I longed for a girl,

I wanted a daughter, a living doll to call my own.

Through a veil of pain…

numbed by excitement

I laboured for your arrival.

Then with a push you slipped through

A wet, pink and slippery bundle of joy.

I sighed with relief.

I congratulated myself.

It was a girl!

Though exhaustion claimed my body

My mind refused to cooperate,

to be drugged into oblivious sleep.

For it was revelling in its own carnival

It was enjoying

The Festival of the Coming of the Daughter!

And the revelry has continued unabated

Through these past twelve years

Watching you

Stutter and sing,

Cry and crawl…

Now, on the threshold of womanhood,

You are more of a daughter than ever before.

And my mind today still sings with joy as it did

On the day that you were born a dozen years ago.

(Unpublished poem written on the birthday of her daughter by a Kathmandu mother who wishes to remain unnamed.)

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Himal Southasian