Recoil

They had always agreed it was like a crystal, resplendent,
And so flaunted it as if it were a diamond pendant,
The hundreds of patterns merging in a design so intricate,
That they altogether avoided touching it, however delicate.

But then, what’s the mind for, if not to play games,
So, on an afternoon when someone was calling him names,
He naively listened, thinking everything was under control,
And yet, suddenly everything he heard seemed like vitriol.

So in that moment we casually call stimulus,
He did what still makes his hand tremulous,
But in that instant, all he heard was the shattering,
The crash drowned out whatever he was uttering.

The sound immediately ended any thoughts of violence,
And he was left to contend with its stinging silence,
Sitting, surrounded by hundreds of shards of glass,
He wondered at how life changed within a flash.

He wished all of this could go away like some imagined figment,
But couldn’t look away from the stares of every single fragment,
He would have to do something by the time she was back,
Make it was glittering again on it own rack.

So he began, reassembling it, minute by precious minute,
Sighing only when he finally got done with it,
He allowed himself a grin for not missing a single piece,
And not messing it either, knowing how hard she was to appease.

When he took a step back, the grin slowly drained away,
For, all he saw was a jagged contraption, begging to be thrown away,
Every piece still glittering, with his rage unspoken,
Still shimmering, like pieces of a dream forever broken.

This one is for the Gazebo, since i don’t have any such personal experiences from the last 15 years. Quite often we jump into something in a fit of fury, commit acts that we live to regret for a day, a year, a lifetime. Just think of each time you act in anger out of reflex as stabbing someone, sometimes it is just a jab, other times it is fatal. However in all the times, decades after the wound heals, the scars still remain. Every time they look at it, or you look at it, it brings back those memories however long forgotten. So, just remember, you can stick back a broken mirror, but you can’t erase the cracks.

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Foundry

Mocking, they said, for the both of us it wouldn’t work out,
That, all it would take is a match stick, for both of us to burn out,
And for a while it seemed we both too, were in doubt,
How true it all was, we would very soon find out.

That is how we came to realize that something was badly broken,
And we had to fix it, if only to continue remaining bespoken,
We knew there was more than familiarity to revoke,
If those old feelings for each other we had to evoke.

Unconsciously each of us had built an invisible wall,
A wall that doggedly separates us footfall by footfall,
Alas, it’s a wall we love, wall we hate, wall we cannot mention,
Built by the bricks of our values, our beliefs,  our every emotion.

We need to work on this brick by brick, level by level,
Till we reach the very foundations of this upheaval,
When all that is left, is the mangled bars of foundation,
We reach the point that is beyond mere decimation.

That’s when we need to bend my ego with your humility,
To break your aggression upon my timidity,
To stamp my fear over with you courage,
To clear our ignorance with this knowledge.

To relent your obstinacy along with my stubbornness,
To cherish your sorrow along with my happiness,
To quench my greed through your contentment,
To shelter our union from every disappointment.

Only then can we mix every tear with a smile,
So that you and me can take us forward another mile,
For, only when each of us gives up control over what we hold,
Can we truly together possess everything we behold.

This one is for the Gazebo although it is inspired by head-over-heels impression of the movie Ye Maya Chesave. To put the point across in simple terms, love takes a lot of work. To build a monument called love, egos need to be crushed, boundaries need to be laid, bonds need to be cemented, beliefs need to be sculpted, trust needs to be concretized, emotions need to be polished, etc. It is much akin to making a diamond ring (the reason why the poem is titled Foundry).

To make a diamond ring, you need to cleanse the ore to get the gold, and that means burning it with a lot of acids. You need to melt the gold, pour it into a mould and wait for it to set. You need to clean the rough, choose a cut, and optimize the size. You also need to then set the stone in the gold. If any one of these stages was dispensed with, you might end up with either a rough stone on glittering gold, or a scintillating gem on a piece of ore. There is no middle ground, each of these has to let go of the things define them to become a thing that together defines them. The movie very beautifully captures the pain points that prevent each of them from reaching out to the other. We all need to go through that furnace together and burn our differences, melt our apprehensions, and mould our desires before we can truly become one. Each of us call its by a different name, but in the end, its all the same, unless each of us lets go, we can’t make it together.

Ten Percent

Often, the stories we hear from unfortunate brothers are the same,
Stories of loss, stories of failure to keep ahead in the game,
Whatever their story, all that seems to change is the name,
The rest is simply different shades, flavours of sorrow and shame.

The one thing they won’t tell you, is it all began with an action,
The rest of their story is merely the compulsion of reaction,
Ask the ones with broken relationships from a fit of fury,
Ask the ones with the lucky hand, now enduring penury.

All they did, was react before they thought,
Striking when the iron was way too hot,
And you know what happens, when molten iron breaks the mould,
It frees the butterfly before the cocoon is ready to unfold.

If only they had waited for the iron to slightly cool,
They could by now be holding an indispensable tool,
But most often, the maybes are never meant to be,
Else their own sweet future everyone could see.

If only they could pause those words, to sit back and think,
They wouldn’t be struggling to pull their lives from the brink,
They wouldn’t be burning their bridges faster than they blink,
After all, even the Titanic took only a few hours to sink.

Most of your life happens based on your reaction to it,
And that itself is the simplest way to fix it,
You cannot change life through some fancy premonition,
You can change it by simply changing your reaction.

When hysterical, just sit down and give it some thought,
Whether it is an issue really worth being fought,
Freed from emotion, when your mind is allowed to consider a thought,
You will suddenly find all those answers you have always sought.

Although this is one for the Mirror, it goes elsewhere because it is inspired in part from Stephen Covey‘s ‘Ten Percent Rule’. So, here’s another for the Beacons, one of my funda principles that has held me in good stead in life. Since the poem is in non-abstract verse, no more stories necessary to explain it. 🙂

Sitting Bull

For as long as the oldest among us has known,
We owned everything in sight over which the eagle has flown,
But those days and the eagle were about to be numbered,
And history textbooks was the only place we would be remembered.

When you came with your guns and priests, last fall,
You said they were for the betterment of us all,
You told us they would help turn us into civilized people,
And that we would truly become one with your people.

But your sight was unmistakably, always on the land,
One that you sought to grab with an iron hand,
So you set about mixing our destinies with our sand,
Slowly and surely, until there was none of us left to stand.

You began by setting tribe against tribe, brother against brother,
Till the mindless fights intensified enough to disown their mother,
You sat back and witnessed not just the death of those fighting,
But the very demise of centuries of our way of living.

Like cattle we were herded, from settlement to settlement,
And all we had covering our heads was each other’s resentment,
We were only left with the ground on which we stood,
And ironically many believed it was for our own good.

You can force my children to forsake their name,
And towards their own, feel nothing but shame,
Force them to believe, they are animals you should tame,
And turn them into pawns, in civilization’s shameful game.

You can take away everything you think I really own,
And rip apart my family, my home, to the very bone,
You can take my land, my culture, and my life away,
But you can’t stop me from living my life, my way.

Back to the Beacons, this one is for HBO. Among the things that shaped my views in the last 10 years, the most significant influence has been HBO. Every movie/masterpiece they have made has been thought-provoking in their own unique manner.

This one is inspired by the character Sitting Bull from their movie ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’. It is merely a lyrical translation of the movie’s theme. Which goes a long way in dealing with our ideas of freedom, and addresses bones of contention like whose freedom is worth what, whether one man’s freedom should be achieved/furthered through the slavery/captivity of the other, specially in a land that was built on liberation.

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