Vanishing Gardens by Baidha Fercoq

The plight of workers in developing nations is often marked with grave injustices. Left without government intervention, workers must seek to survive by working in unimaginable conditions. Such is the condition for this poem’s setting.  This poem speaks of ongoing conditions found within West Bengal’s tea estates. With speculative owners and weak government enforcement of India’s Plantation Labor Act, thousands of workers are left destitute and starving to death.  While we, as readers, may be removed from such devastating conditions, we share in our responsibility to be our brother’s keeper.


Vanishing gardens of West Bengal

your crop’s delight are sipped by all

India’s finest to offer as tea perfume

savory tea with a lingering scent.


Withering corpses, stand to till your soil

as speculative owners, fatten their vaults

these owners have grafted from land and laborer

leaving shells of both, without any matter.


Indifferent government, turns a blind eye

workers now scurry, hoping not to die

perhaps to mine stones amongst dry river beds

or maybe yet, into human traffic be led?


What can allow a heartless government

to rob a people of their pulse?

while business plunders all human worth

a desert grows of endless thirst.


© Baidha Fercoq

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Don Beukes – author of The Salamander Chronicles

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