Today's Beautiful Gem: `I am dark...' by M. Udayakala.

"I am dark,        dark as the night,
                         dark as the new moon,
                         dark as Death,
                         dark as the dark Lord!

"I am a child of the sun and the sun blesses me
         even as I toil from dawn to dusk in the hot sun;
I am a child of the elements and the elements bless me
         even as I toil on deep rivers and fathomless oceans;
I am a child of Nature and Nature blesses me
         even as I toil in the depths of the valleys.

"I am born to be borne with a bundle of burdens--
I lift stones to build magnificent mansions and mighty monuments;
I bear the nightsoil on my head to keep the village clean and healthy;
I carry sacks of grain on my bare back to feed the hungry stomachs;
Alas, my heart is forever loaded with grief and sorrow.

"I have eyes open, but I am blind to all knowledge;
I have ears sensitive, but I am deaf to all disciplined music;
I compose songs without words and I sing them in silence.
My presence is never noticed, but my absence is always felt;
They talk of the deeds of dead despots and dazzling queens;
I am an unscented flower discarded on the dust-heap of history!

"The past has been cruel to me; the present has by-passed me;
My heart is peaceful and I bear no ill-will; sure, my day will dawn!
I have hopes for the future-- high hopes for a hundred plans!
One day, my daughter will scale Dhavalagiri, the white mountain;
One day, my son will sit at the head of the table and guide the world!

"I am patient and I will wait; after all,
Haven't I waited patiently for centuries!

"I am dark, but my heart is filled with light;
I am dark as the night, but my heart is filled with sunshine;
I am dark as the new moon, but my mind spans galaxies and supernovae;
I am dark as Death, but my soul is full of life and love;
I am dark as the dark Lord, but His radiant smile fills my being!"

Om shaantiH Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao.