What Do You Know?

by Dilip Mohapatra (June 2016)

What do you know

of the price of a piece of cloth

fluttering on the top of the mast

that is paid with

the sweat and blood of the martyrs

who rotted in the four by six cells

whose bodies hung at

the end of the oppressors' noose

who took the bullets

and the brunt of the bayonets

that ripped their entrails

and riddled their hearts? 


What do you know

of the value of a piece of cloth

that proclaims your sovereignty

your liberty and honour

that is embedded with

the aspirations and

emotions of the millions

who leave no stones unturned

to carve a niche of your nation

on the global atlas

and keep it flying high

come what may?


What do you know

of the value of a piece of cloth

that drapes the coffin

of the valiant hero

who lays down his life on the borders

so very willingly

so that you may continue to

live in the comforts and security

of your home

and his eternal breath replaces

his ephemeral breath

to keep it fluttering ever after?


What do you know

of the value of a piece of cloth

if you question the timing

if you question the occasion

if you question the motive

for it to be hoisted

in the premises of temples of learning?

Remember its not just a symbol

nor is it a poet's metaphor

it's the glue that unifies and binds

with a heart of its own that beats

only for you.




Dilip Mohapatra (b.1950), a decorated Navy Veteran started writing poems since the seventies . His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute worldwide. Some of his poems are included in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 and 2014 Editions. He has four poetry collections to his credit published by Authorspress India, and one non-fiction, a book of wisdom titled Points to Ponder. He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management Studies. He lives with his wife in Pune. His website may be accessed at dilipmohapatra.com.


To comment on this poem, please click here.

To help New English Review continue to publish original and thought provoking poetry such as this, please click here.

If you have enjoyed this poem and want to read more by Dilip Mohapatra, please click here.


Join leaders of the American Middle Eastern community to endorse

Donald J. Trump
for President of the United States

and spend an evening with his foreign policy advisors featuring
Dr. Walid Phares
and other surprise campaign guests.

Monday October 17th

Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20008

cocktails at 6pm - dinner at 7pm
Business casual attire

$150 per person / $1500 per table

Sponsored by the American Mideast Coalition for Trump

Buy Tickets