They built the generators,
And drew electricity from the sun.
They brought them across many miles, across many continents
To light up huts that huddled beyond paved roads.
It was largely the women who learned to twist the wrenches and wind the wires.
And wherever they brought light, they taught women who lived there to build more.
They spoke but could not understand one another,
Daughters of such far places.
They attended the Barefoot College,
Where what the poor thought was important would be reflected in the college.
They employed puppets for teaching and sign language for work.
What does it take for a grandmother to leave a village?
And what does it take to return?
The most forgotten of women raises a torch to her companions.
She settles back with husband, grandchildren, tribal leaders.
But by the new light
They see her more vividly.
In honor of Sanjit Roy and the Barefoot College.
This poem was published in Issue 10 of the Tiger Moth Review, July 15, 2023.
December 17, 2014