Reshma

Reshma, my daughter; born under thatch

In a home with three goats and a vegetable patch

She took not much schooling but cooked rather well

She wandered the market with nothing to sell

 

She went with her sister to Dhaka for work

Sewed for small money, met some young jerk

Welcomed him innocent into her life

Thought it a glory to be someone’s wife

 

He wasn’t that bad, just an average man

But a man has his dreams and maybe a plan

Dowry tradition and social demands

Led to the end of her hopes for romance

 

Reshma, my pretty, has a sweet face

Not a bad figure; of average grace

Clever enough in illiterate ways

Worked passably well for very small pay

 

Reshma, the seamstress sewed for the west

She and her sisters doing their best

Sowing fine garments they’d not think to wear

Carefully saried with neatly oiled hair

 

Early one morning the factory fell down

Nine floors came tumbling with thunderous sound

Fell like a cake with the layers all piled

Down at the bottom lay Reshma, my child

 

Hours they past and the dust settled fine

Weeping and wailing was mixed with the crime

Reshma in darkness lay fearful of death

Death was at harvest, so much to collect

 

Under the rubble and ruins she lay

Surely they’ld rescue her after a day

Alone in her dungeon saving her tears

Trying with care to ration her fears

 

Reshma, Reshma the dying souls call

Bring us the rain, we hear that it falls

Reshma, Reshma, death knocked at her door

Reshma lay trembling, a prisoner of war

 

She heard sounds of clearing and tearing at walls

But nobody heard her or answered her calls

Seventeen days my girl spent in hell

Seventeen days and each hour as well

 

The clearing comes nearer, the hammers and shouts

Reshma swings feverish from hope back to doubt

A rescuer hears her, she taps metal poles

Down in the rubble with all the dead souls

 

They dig her out safely with hand tools and care

No one can believe that she’s actually there

They carry her tender, bring her to the light

Shedding real tears for her courage and fight

 

The whole world knows Reshma, a hero, a saint

All want to believe she’s a soul without taint

All want to see her, to hear her, to praise

To love and admire and see Rashma’s face

 

Reshma my daughter, she watches, quite calm

The fuss and attention can do her no harm

She’s wiser by now, knows nothing lasts long

This is her verse but it’s never her song

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