“The Martyr’s Well’ at Jallianwala Bagh (from Wikipedia)

This hay(na)ku chain was written for One Single Impression Prompt #27: Spectacle. If you don’t know about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (known probably better as the “Amritsar Massacre” in the West), you can read about it here.

bodies and
cries of anguish

cut down
like barren trees

firing upon
Indians by orders

cloud of
bullets and chaos

mouth opens
to swallow souls

spectacle of
death explodes inside

walls of
grand Sikh holiness

been violated
and then inscribed

the blood
of innocent dead

names glow
with slick wetness

still scream
from the wall

we forget
this mad massacre

spectacle of
unbridled human cruelty

us not
forget that blood

human skin
of any color

is red
when unjustly spilled

our minds
become a spectacle

heartless evil
and cold indifference

Written 8/30/08
© 2008 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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22 Responses to Amritsar

  1. Raven says:

    Beautiful and moving. I will never understand how human beings can do this to one another. I keep hoping we will find a way to stop thinking killing someone else fixes anything in this life. I had heard of this massacre. I don’t remember quite how – probably in a book or movie. It is good to be reminded and educated about these things, especially when – as you have done – it honors the dead and seeks to end such killings.

  2. Andree says:

    wow that is powerful. Painful. I have to go to that site and read/learn more. Thank you.

  3. anthonynorth says:

    A moving poem to a terrible event. Sadly, history proves massacres like this can be so easy.

  4. Thank you for including the backstory and link – I had no awareness of this event prior to reading this. Your powerful words convey the loss and outrage for us all.

  5. They still scream from the well indeed.
    Moving piece.

  6. Barb's Haiku says:

    It’s incomprehensible to me that anyone could feel indifferent while taking a life.

  7. You’ve honored the memory of the fallen – and reminded us that we should not forget lest we become apathetic to the atrocity of human cruelty.

  8. paisley says:

    wow ,,, that was tight.. i know nothing about the massecre,, so i need to do some background reading and then give it another read…

  9. SandyCarlson says:

    This is powerful. Your words paint a horrifying image, one that stops me in my tracks and makes me think of the nature of human cruelty.

  10. susan says:

    I wish you’re lines were longer. The short lines forces a lot of eye movement which for me takes a way quite a bit of the intensity. Reminded me of the Rwanda genocide. Thanks for the read.

  11. I really enjoyed your hay(na)ku-very powerful.
    We shouldn’t forget these attrocities.
    Thank you for sharing these.

  12. This is something which happened to our people.

    Poignant is a mild word to describe the felings evoked..

    I catch words haphazardly

  13. Pam says:

    This is such a difficult poem to digest. No one wants to think that things like this happen even though we know they do. I am sure that if I ever visit this place I will remember your words.

  14. Julie says:

    This is a fascinating format to get your thoughts across. The individual verse can stand alone. I found the 5th one (insanity’s mouth opens to swallow souls) very affecting and wonderfully evocative.

  15. Thank you, everyone, for your compliments on this piece. The first time I had heard of the Amritsar massacre was when I watched the movie “Gandhi” several years ago, and was struck by the way Richard Attenborough had depicted the cruelty, horror, and bloodshed. I was re-watching a special about the movie and was reminded of this again.

    Susan: if you’re not used to the hay(na)ku form, it can be a little different. I chose this form because I felt it captured the sudden chaos, disorder, and violence in this horrible event. If you want to know more about hay(na)ku, check out this link:


  16. Sandy says:

    I need to read more about this. Very powerful work.

  17. patois says:

    I am so sickened and disheartened by the event you describe so powerfully. Kudos to you, then, for eliciting such a reaction, which is what one must always feel when events such as these occur, no matter when in time.

  18. zoya gautam says:

    ..please allow me to use this chance to thank sir Richard Attenborough for “Gandhi” the movie and u for such a meaningful poem that “stops me in my tracks and makes me think of the nature of human cruelty”..
    (Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer: was the infamous officer who issued the orders)..

  19. your words leave me speechless…such a sorrow

  20. teric says:

    Such visual meaningful words.

  21. smilingcynic says:

    Finally the Saville report has exonerated the civilians murdered on Bloody Sunday. Our nationalist heroes have referred to the massacre as “our Amritsar massacre”

    Irish nationalist solidarity with the Sikhs
    United Ireland
    Free Punjab, Return the Koh-i-noor

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