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Rented Lives of Clay Puppets

Dear friends,

Here I share a poem penned in May 2013, in remembrance of thousands of lives lost at the collapsed factory; Rana Plaza in Savar, Bangladesh on 24th April 2013. Despite being warned of the structure's poor condition the previous day, the owners refused to shut down the factory -- more so, forced the employees to go for work next day, by threatening to cut off their salaries. Factories found in similar conditions and with poor working conditions are found all over the world. In Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, India, Nicaragua, Pakistan etc, "conditions await" to write thousands of lives into smiler stories.

While the "privileged and elite" celebrate world economy, "human worth" is compromised each day in the corporate world, while humanity slowly goes blind behind the tightly shut eyes of "our world's" very own soul.

This poem is my humble dedication to all workers, especially many women who lost their lives -- and the survivors.

Light and regards,
Ishtar Zikr.

Rented Lives of Clay Puppets by Silent Fingers (Ishtar Zikr)

Rented lives of clay puppets
selling themselves to the aroma of two tasteless morsels;
bought at the price of few crumpled paper -- faded in color
with few jotted numbers;
worth lesser than frayed blankets
covering half-naked bodies
on cold concrete pavements.

Five yards of human soul --
... of feet that once danced in muddy puddles sinking paper boats
... of hands that once fed half-full stomachs of starving toddlers --
now wrapped and bound in forty yards of pure white-cotton;
tied together with a limb or a two missing – one lying here...
the other lying there.

Lighter than the day they were borne as pieces of “heaven”
Heavier now than a world weighed down by anchored "hells"
carried upon blistered shoulders --
of a father
a brother
a son
... or, perhaps a stranger's --
each frozen through this procession of animated toil,
hailing the once warm flesh of now-red-stained-bodies,
all laid on their backs --
facing His "still benevolent" sky.

This --
the lost march of the crushed souls’ last parade;
with no drums no trumpets...
with no cheers no applauds...
but only screaming sighs bursting breathing chests open --
of the half-alive loving ones left behind.

Famished graves await restless – mouth open
as earth beckoned it's share of fresh salty morsels;
... a once smiling face,
... a once singing voice,
and, a once fighting "warrior" --
forced once to enter the hell of the poor man’s world,
blessed now to escape the heaven of the rich man’s hell.

Souls buried beneath the weight of life’s bitter truths --
Then, under the jostling cold shoulders of concrete and iron.
Now, under the wet soil of materialism's unforgiving truth
…. all in the voids of inhumane humanity.
…. all in the voids of inhumane humanity.


zsingwane's picture



Ishtar Zikr's picture

I am honored

Dear Zsingwane,

Your kind words leave me humbled and inspired. In a world where actions often speak louder through many atrocities, a simple writer like myself can only hope, that "words" are "felt" by the heart and mind -- giving a while of hope and strength.

And, it would be an honor to exchange my poetry in any attempt to help this world a more "livable place". Thank you!

Ishtar Zirk

hanasazi's picture

Ishtar, you have a beautiful

Ishtar, you have a beautiful way with words. The cadence is magnificent, and you packed so much depth of meaning into each line. This is so very sorrowful, and yet with such beauty. What a soulful way to remind people to remember the terrible events of that day. I look forward to reading more of your poetry!

Ishtar Zikr's picture

Thank you!


Thank you for your encouraging words. They have touched me.

As "warriors of pen", what we write into words not only carry with them a literal meaning -- the ink with which we pen each line, often bleeds so much pain and emotions that are colored in "pure red". I am so glad that you found the true "hue" of my poem, and related to it.

I look forward to your imprints again, with a humbled heart.


7613deba's picture

Way to voice out

Truly admirable!!! Ishtar your poem really touched my heart. You have spoken and raised this Ipmortant issue in a very refine and beautiful manner. Hope humanity rise and may the world see a new sunrise.

Ishtar Zikr's picture

Our voice, our strength!

Deba, what a hopeful message!

Indeed, our world needs such a sunrise that should illuminate the dark alleys of my minds, through which humanity fail to pass on. As One we shall raise -- through our voices, our hopes and our actions.
Thank you so much for leaving your imprints and thoughts here.


Greengirl's picture

This is brilliant!

Dear Ishtar, your words are so creatively woven together with a clear message of how man's greedy and inhumane sides bring about more evil than good. I hope this anecdote spreads like wide fire and awakens humanity to the call for equity, justice and fairness.

God bless you!


Ishtar Zikr's picture

Your voice resonates

Dear Greengirl,

The power behind your words here have given valor to my pen. Indeed, hope lives on to slash the "shut eyelids of humanity" with the nib of my meek pen. Justice is compromised and abused every day, in almost every part of the world -- and morality dies a slow death, beneath the weight of "paper bundles".

Blessed be your courage and voice too, Greengirl -- for, it is resonates loud.


SSD's picture

Your post



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