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All images: details from 1947 photo by Margaret Bourke-White


1947 - The Forever Wandering




            The shy sun fractures and veers off the dome of the gurdwara

            The Sardar stokes the fires, warming the giant pots for langar


            The crowd at the gate heaves and moans

            Rising in the parched air to begin again

            Some have arrived in the night

            Some have departed

            Prayer would allude them till evening

            All day they will shuffle and writhe

            A tangle of people,

            Trying to unravel the knotting of history

            Trying to secure the frayed ends of family

            A mangle of glances, a million eyes

            A gesture, an accent, a pause to study a stranger

            Where are you from?

            Do I know you?

            Too weak to dismiss them

            Too hungry for more, they press on

            In the search for a patchwork of ties

            A most sorrowful mingling

            But the restoration of a people will exhaust a century,

            Will consume every generation

            - will be a global resurrection


            The Sardar thrusts open the windows

            But the distance is too far to see

            That hope alone lies deep in the eyes of the lucky

            At the moment of discovery

            And grief will forever be suspended in the eyes of the wandering,

            Who will know at a glance what you also have lost



September 2, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Harinder (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India), September 02, 2010, 2:21 PM.

Sikhs have been wandering since the time of the First Guru. He commanded us to "UJARRO" and not become pathologically attached to a piece of land called a village then and today a "NATION".

2: N. Singh (Canada), September 02, 2010, 7:33 PM.

Welcome back, Harinder! Now that Kartar Singh Bhalla and Surinder (U.S.) have been exposed, no doubt we will be hearing more from you. Did the GOI decided to re-assign you to

3: Kirpal Singh (Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.A.), September 02, 2010, 9:12 PM.

Dear Ms.Gibson, Thank you for this beautiful poem, written so skillfully and sentimentally. Hope to see a book of your collected poems in the near future.

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