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  • Writer's pictureSpeak Your Roots

"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.

-Esther Syiem

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.


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