Shadows of the Earth

Tall be the oaks, that tower above the forest,
Broad be the oaks, that stretch east to west,
Extensive, encompassive, everything below, they shield,
Protective, predatory, not a ray of sunlight they yield.

There was a time when each was a mere sapling,
And for every bit of space, constantly jostling,
Each determined to prove the other a weakling,
For that last bit of resource, their every root grappling.

Tall and sturdy they have grown, on the shoulders of the meek,
Yet their roots get weaker, week upon week,
Slowly fading into history, attention is the last things they seek,
Because man has never been known to spare or forgive the broadest teak.

Far below, where the light cannot pierce, never reach,
And every single stray ray, thousands of saplings beseech,
It’s a miracle when only single ray, bounces on a hundred leaves,
Every single bounce affecting a thousand more lives.

Every new morning begins another big fight,
A fight for survival, a fight for light,
Yet, it is not the light itself that they seek,
All they want, is to live, survival of the weak.

They are the unseen masses who feed the rest,
Silently and tirelessly giving away their best,
Toiling through the years, as silent witnesses to their own turmoil,
Equally silently they perish, forever rooted to the soil.

The oaks that stand, tall and mighty on their feet,
Can never look down, and these puny equals ever meet,
Though unsung, of such heroes, there is never a dearth,
Ones who work silently, in the shadows of the earth.

This is one for the Gazebo, and is dedicated to all those millions of unknown people who make our everyday life a possibility. Thousands upon thousands who sincerely do their duty everyday enabling the clockwork that this globe is, to keep ticking for another day. Yet all that remains at the end of each such day for these thousands of heroes, is the night, a glum reminder of another nondescript day to come. How many times do we think of thanking the person behind us, because he/she didn’t break the queue? How many times do we think of thanking the milkman who came on time 25 days a month?

Sadly, we only remember the guy who appears on TV, or the guy who gets talked about on the internet. Even those things last only a few minutes/days in our memory. The less said the better, about innocuous nobodies like you, me and everybody else, the ones who really make the globe, and yet never stand in the limelight.

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Resilience

They say it is the words that first cause such a thing,
And that nothing quite matches the angst that words bring,
Hurting in places far deeper than the skin, than the mind,
And an equally acerbic retort, is the only solace I can find.

So deep a hurt, that the only words left were silence,
A silence that grew as a measure of each one’s patience,
It soon became a matter of the mind, a test of resolve,
With neither of our stands ready to try and resolve.

Like adoring statues we sat, staring at each other,
Willing, not wanting, to speak to one another,
My mind wishes that this were all an aberration,
But it knows that the person before me, is no apparition.

From a swearing fest, it turned into a staring contest,
Both of us determined not to let the other get the best,
It seemed that something more than a relationship stood to test,
As it became more of a showdown than a simple conquest.

The eyes grow tired and yearn for some sleep,
While the wound is busy, burning within, far from asleep,
Soon the heart begins to feel the warmth of each ember,
And the images get more vivid than you want to remember.

Even the lips do not hear the mind let out a scream,
As it is shaken awake from a listless repentful dream,
I understand it is now time to wake up, make amends,
For, what are few words, to separate true friends.

Being incessantly hammered, the dam finally breaks,
Not by a flood, or by the overflowing of a hundred lakes,
Overcome with remorse, I let go of all that I hold dear,
And all my resilience is washed away, by the first tear.

This one is for the Gazebo, since it is too fictional to imagine myself crying, hardened rock that i pretend to be. It is for those times when we lose relationships over silly words, and then stare at each other, hoping the other person would be the first to repent. The resilience that we believe gives us our self-respect often also takes away friends/relationships from us.

Falling Leaf

Nestling in the sun, tethered to the strongest stem,
Looking at cousins in my shadow, I laugh at them,
Basking in the glory of my sun, I miss the impending grey,
I should have listened to those stories of the sunshine and hay.

I soon feel the link weakening, my only life cord,
And finally came the snap, one, none of us could afford,
Free to fly, no wonder they say, death is the final freedom,
But the looming ground distracted me from all this wisdom.

Floating and fluttering, every second of the way,
Surprised and shocked, I clearly have nothing to say,
Hopeful and helpless, in a free fall to the ground,
Spellbound and deafened, I await the dreadful sound.

Whitewashed feelings hover for directions around a blank mind,
One that never found itself put into such a bind,
Their silence is temporal, my silence is eternal,
Their sound is external, my peace is internal.

Stripped of my ego, shorn of my pride,
There is no friend left to even confide,
Buried in the pain, sunk in the sorrow,
There is not even a smile, left to borrow.

Looking around, I see many more falling,
All at the end of their ropes, no more stalling,
All of us were together, and each of us was alone,
Yet, every one of us, stubborn to the tombstone.

The last we hear is a crunch, the last we see are feet,
As we depart. hoping to never again meet,
A few feet away, a sapling begins to sprout,
We grin, having learnt, what life is all about.

This is one for the Mirror, because it best reflects the rock-bottom that my life is at today. Despite being crushed like a leaf on the forest floor, the only thing i can now see is the sprouts of a new beginning.

Sunflower

Very few acknowledge that the day really begins at night,
At the stroke of midnight, the wings of morning take flight,
Leaving darkness behind, for the resplendence of the sun,
And dejection too finally gives way, to the possibilities of fun.

The sun has risen, but is more darker than the night,
Battered and bruised, blackened from the long standing fight,
It now needs more light, than it gives,
And takes more lives, every moment it lives.

Everyone has resigned to the confines of the brighter night,
Even in the battle for darkness, the sun has more might,
Blind by the day, and more blinded by the night,
The denizens of darkness make such a pretty sight.

They go about their activities, regardless of time,
And only for the dead, do the bells any longer chime,
They have lost their light, only to earn that extra dime,
And in doing so, crowned their reason over rhyme.

They see and they don’t, their own wretched existence,
And ignore it all, upon each others cold insistence,
They hear and they feel, sorrow’s yearning pang,
And yet are too busy, to help it solitarily hang.

Weaving away their remaining time, bonded to the loom,
Unconsciously, they create, the fabric of their own doom,
They survive on the coast, of that seashore of gloom,
Where the sand forgives not, sunflowers that dare bloom.

Behold, the first golden bloom, on this arid land,
It grows beyond the reach of man’s rugged hand,
So that the world can now see, that happiness is light,
It is the bliss that bestows every life, with true sight.

Today it is the Beacons turn to gloat. This one is for my frequently infrequent muse, Aparna. Set in a world that is too busy to laugh, too occupied to smile, and too ignorant of happiness, it tries to extrapolate what happens when Aparna walks into such a world. A world that had lost its sunshine, the light of their lives, called joy, and how one sunflower defied man’s own nature to save mankind.

Stillwater

Wind glazes the edge, causing ripples on the surface,
But soon there is no blemish left on its face,
A stone stirs up ripples from its bottom,
Soon all that is left, is the stone at the bottom.

The first few words might have unsettled the mind,
But they are not enough for the indecision to bind,
Words being words, they soon meld with every other sound,
And the mind leans back, not the one to be pushed around.

The first few events that somehow manage to get past the eyes,
Find that they no longer command the same thrill, the surprise,
They soon fade from that fuzzy region called memory,
Hoping the events that follow can perhaps rekindle their story.

Things must definitely be wrong, when the boring gets interesting,
When the quietest of moments, seem the most arresting,
The trouble is, you never know when the euphoria is really dead,
It always feels alive, if only in some corner of the head.

Time though, was always insensitive to happiness and sorrow,
Just as it is unconscious of yesterday and tomorrow,
It seems to exist in a parallel world of its own,
One that is beyond the known and the unknown.

Whatever their differences, at some points time and life collide,
And it is in those intersections that eternity does abide,
The intersections where everything comes to a dead stop,
And you wish that these collisions wouldn’t stop.

Sometimes the best progress you can make, is to make none,
For, that moment when time stopped was always the best one,
So every time your life gets stuck in deep water,
The best consolation, is that it is just stillwater.

Another for the Beacons, this time for a sister. Sukanya this one is for you and all those ‘differently interesting’ HC calls. We used to be in the same bucket. :D:D:D

Rain It Will

All activities have ceased, but the dust refuses to settle,
As if in deference to every hard-working man’s mettle,
Sadly the hard work is no longer worth its own sweat,
But dust is the only thing these sons of failure can beget.

Every single drop is terrified to go solo, to trespass,
And they believe this longing will soon come to pass,
For now they decide to bide their time with the cloud,
Atleast until the cloud thunders its displeasure aloud.

Down below, every grain of sand awaits its deliverance into dust,
Knowing, the cloud’s displeasure is something they can always trust,
Tired as they grow, with every new footfall,
Silently they wait, having no one to call.

No one knows whose thirst is greater, man’s or the land’s,
While the eager man waits with cupped hands,
The arid land yearns from its burning sands,
Ever hopeful, yet helpless, each of them anxiously stands.

They watch the first black cloud swiftly escape,
Unaware that the yearners below can only longingly gape,
The longing turns into panic as the rest of the clouds follow,
And they realise their spirits can never get more low.

Among them, one small child refuses to lose his smile,
Believing that the most adamant clouds relent after a while,
For, clouds are no different in their quest for redemption,
They just wait until someone can really grab their attention.

And then, the first drop kisses his cheek, unafraid to rebel,
The rest of them, the cloud can neither restrain nor compel,
They rush with ferocity, towards every parched bosom,
And glisten with contentment, on the last surviving blossom.

Another for the Beacons, this time for Yanni, whose title compelled me to write this one. Not just the title, the evocativeness of the piece also forced me to pen down the experience.

Leaving Neverland

It never ceases to surprise, the emptiness that makes up the inevitable,
It teases, taunts, it makes a mockery of everything that is believable,
And it never goes away, morphing into a vacuum that feeds into itself,
For, the soul can only be torn away once, from this body, the self.

It all seemed a dream, since I never really woke up,
Woke up that is, before this charade of a game was up,
Funny, how these seconds steal their minutes from you,
And each minute conveniently forgets to remind you.

Times when you get so attached to the things that made you grow,
Are when you least realise, you love them more than you know,
So much so that you never really learn to accept the reality,
And resign to acknowledging separation as a definite possibility.

The first step, they said would always be the hardest,
I thought they were mocking, when I found it the easiest,
They were probably seeing it the wrong way all the time,
Because it was the last step that gave me the hardest time.

When the foot that is lifted, stubbornly refuses to fall,
In that fraction of a second when I take the final call,
I realise there never was, and never is, any hope of going back,
Every time that determination questions the courage I lack.

While the eyes are busy herding the crowded tears,
I am left alone, to confront new and unknown fears,
Fears of leaving the certain, venturing into the uncertain,
Fears of being unable to cope, unable to bear the pain.

And then it happened, my worst nightmares came true,
Though the signs were clear, miles before they became true,
I could never retrace my steps, as there was no turning back,
So I stand, in the battlefield, not knowing what to attack.

This one is for the Mirror. It deals with my apprehensions of getting into a ‘professional’ job and letting go of my reckless freedom. Not everyone notices that after you have placed your first foot in a new venture, there is still the last foot left in the previous venture. This poem is about that last foot, one that doesn’t want to rise. The one that makes change the hardest.

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