Starless winter night, the cold dark waters –
the Boatman comes to ferry the midnight travellers –
yet waiting in agony at the rainy harbour,
stands an old woman with a man’s hat for shelter,
crying, “How now Boatman, are you there?
My son took the ferry last Wednesday,
and I’ve heard none from him since, even on Christmas day!
Tell me, Boatman, is he cross with me?
Does he plan on punishing his poor mother for eternity?
Yes, I knew, to repay the miserly lender I had no money,
but I have to put food on the table, you see?
‘I’ll kill you woman!’, the lender barged in the hut where I hide,
‘Have mercy on the old!’ I wailed helplessly, his dagger to avoid.
‘Have it your way then’, he growled as he left annoyed,
and last I saw him, he got on your boat with my boy…”
© Isha Garg