"Mylliem" by Esther Syiem
Village of my ancestors
secure in your remoteness
where your men stoke their forges
under makeshift shelters;
shacks of molten fire that
spark with the energy of limbs that
in an echoing canvas of sound and silence
that will always lead me back to my distant beginnings.
Mylliem of my ancestors
your smithies have endured
the treacheries of wind and rain
your flames lick
the shimmering cold, as they
condense in vapours of liquid heat.
You are the mirage,
locked in metal.
Must I turn to you again?
as in your men and in your women
I find an answering call
in the aroma of smoked earth in them
and in the unbeaten slant of a life
that writes itself back into my present.
Mylliem is a hamlet in East Khasi Hills, famous for its iron smelting works.
"Mylliem" is an original Khasi poem by Dr. Esther Syiem @meiithei which appears in the collection entitled Oral Scriptings (Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 2005).
If you are from Mylliem or have lived there, you will find that the poem is an evocative mix of the sounds and images from the village of Mylliem which we now don't hear anymore. Gone are the days when the strikes of the blacksmiths were a reassuring pace of the passing of life. But we are never rid of our memories. These sounds and images return to fill our dreams and our stories. ✍️✍️🗣️🗣️
Dr. Esther Syiem is a professor in the Department of English, North-Eastern Hill University.