Think

Nobody knew when he slept, when he went and came,
All we knew, was that ‘Tanker’ Ralph was his name,
That he would be at the docks hours before the boat,
A decade-long dream, the only sound from his throat.

After a hard day’s work, while we settled to make merry,
He would be at the harbour, working the night ferry,
Early in the morning, he would be slumped over the deck,
Half-ready for another day, another chance to risk his neck.

While we rubbed our faces to wipe from it, the scalding steam,
He was working and lost, far away seas in a ship-sized dream,
Over and over he would tell us, “one day this tanker will be my own”,
We thought he was crazy, and so just left him alone.

But it was not some day, or month, took him a whole twenty years,
Before the tanker in front of him, could move him to tears,
Years and tears of enslavement with scalded hands and a broken back,
But he was a man in a hurry, with no time and desire to look back.

In no less than a week, tossed like the toy of a naughty wave,
His tanker burst into flames, with nothing left to save,
Imagine standing ashore, watching your life go up in flame,
Knowing you only had yourself and twenty years to blame.

We rushed to his side, to say a word or two of consoling comfort,
Only to realise, it was such a surprising waste of effort,
Struck with a blow that would have buried any man,
Resolutely sea-gazing he stood, laughing like a madman.

“Can’t you see”, he said, “now everything can again be new”,
And on the very sand before his feet, a bigger ship he drew,
“Will take another ten years, of hawking my soul and my abilities”,
“But after that”, he said, “just think of the new possibilities”

This one is also from and for the previous Beacon, Remington Steele. This is a versification of a small story narrated in the episode that has the dialogues from the previous poem, Yes & No. Although in the serial, it is merely a story, couldn’t help notice the pragmatic approach and how much it mirrored my life right now. At this very moment, i am sitting with my tanker in flames, and this story helped me realise the approach i should take towards the whole matter.

i have always believed, that things don’t go away by crying, just as much as the sun doesn’t go away by closing the eyes. And sometimes, things are snatched away from you, to help provoke you to deserve and achieve better things for yourself. It has been one hectic month catching up on my writing that i had let take the backseat for my tanker. But that tanker sank due to a deliberate wave, and the writing has sapped out all the agony and angst. Now all that remains is the peace, emptiness, and a single dream.

Enough for this month. Shall take rest for the rest of the month. Any poems will only appear from the next month. phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

btw, for those statistically inclined, this is the poem no. 200 on my blog.

Yes & No

It is surprising how two little words can play with your life,
Like frozen butter being teased by a serrated knife,
They hang on at the tip of a person’s tongue,
And then vanish like the tune of a paean unsung.

The word everyone wants to hear, is a definite yes,
But unfortunately, life is more complicated than chess,
Thus choice is something we confer, merely for show,
Because the word we can least bear, is a crushing no.

We must have asked each other this, a million times,
Within the confines of our own mind, like silent chimes,
And we look into each other’s eyes, guessing what the other would say,
But whatever the word, it always had to wait for some other day.

Times when we were happy, it was the last thing on mind,
Times when we were sad, it was too awkward to remind,
And so we would shrug it off, as something for tomorrow,
Naively believing, that there is a holiday for sorrow.

Reminds you of the nights, when I held your sobbing head,
While you haltingly pondered, which way things would head,
You tried unsuccessfully to hold back every tear, to prevent me from wiping,
While I tried, in vain, to hold back the world, to prevent you from weeping.

With cloudy eyes, and a cloudier mind, you tell me,
Tonight is the beginning, of a future we both want to see,
And that tonight if I asked you, you couldn’t say no,
That you were willing to leave everything and just go.

But tonight is a time I would never ask you,
Although that’s something you never knew,
And I know this adamance will take you by surprise,
But I promise, to only ask you, when you really have a choice.

Obviously for a Beacon. Two words, but two worlds apart. It’s like St. Peter refereeing between two doors, and Morpheus behind you saying “I can only show you the door, you’re the one that has to walk through it”. This one is inspired by, and dedicated to the serial Remington Steele. Very rare;y do you come across something that can change your outlook to mundane and important things in life, in such a significant manner, as this serial did. In fact, two of the lines from the poem are actually paraphrased dialogues from one of the episodes. That is how deep an impact it made on my life.

So deep an impact that the next one, ‘Think’ my 200th poem on this blog, is also from the serial.

They are one of the smallest frequently used words in conversation, yes and no. But nevertheless in one circumstance, they are anything but trivial, the answer from a life partner. So how do we ingeniously devious beings counter the risk? By playing out an elaborate ritual, restaurants, movies, champagne, flowers, sweet nothings, joyrides, the works. And after all that is through, a visit to the jeweller, and a patient wait before going for the kill. You see, the timing has to be perfect, so we wait like a tiger waiting for the unsuspecting deer to lower its guard.

But you see, the small catch is, there is no unsuspecting deer, you should probably strike it and change it to ‘expectant deer’. There is only a deer playing along through the entire charade, with a one-word speaking part. The catch is, the deer might decide to improvise, then you are really screwed. Because, all of your preparations, all of your routines, prepared you for the yes, so much so, that the no was merely an insignificant statistical possibility. But what happens when the tables are turned, and the yes becomes an insignificant statistical possibility? Are you prepared enough for the day when the deer stalks the tiger, and you have nowhere to hide?

The thing is, we want something so badly, that we want to believe the other person wants it as much, and so try to rub it off onto them, at times and circumstances when they are cornered into agreeing. I mean, if somebody spent a zillion bucks to make you feel like royalty, and then in return asked you a simple thing like ‘go walk into this cage for me’, it would feel downright awkward to say anything but yes, irrespective of the consequences. But, true love lies in choice, and that sometimes means abiding by and respecting the other person’s choice, however conflicting and detrimental it may be to our own choice. If you really love someone, then why should you not give them a fair chance at exercising their choice, unless of course you fear that their rational-minded choice may not be something palatable to you. Sometimes it sounds like a politician who has done months of canvassing, and then on D-Day hires a limo to drop the voter and a valet to hold an umbrella over the voter’s head until he finishes voting. For some weird reason, that smells of rank insecurity, but then maybe, love today, is really that.

What the voter fails to sometimes comprehend is, what happens after the vote is cast? Will the valet and limo still be in service for them? The answer to that, is what guides the real freedom of choice.

Icarus Glue

I never thought I would fly in such rough weather,
But I care not, having glued myself feather by feather,
I could fall faster than my meteoric rise, but I don’t bother,
Because a fall isn’t really painful, when taken for a brother.

When I first heard that destiny had this challenge going,
About who could worthily prove to be my undoing,
I laughed it off, thinking it was just another game,
Until I realised what it was they set about to defame.

The whacks from their batons, hit my legs hard,
But my knees decided, that was reason to run more hard,
The flicks from their canes, leaves my palms charred,
But my arms decided, that was reason to flap more hard.

The more burdened my chest, the easier I could take-off,
Because every feather has a thousand other to care of,
And before they knew it, I had already far away flown,
Leaving behind their guilt, to keep them company alone.

Every slap on the face, punch in the stomach, elicited no sound,
Because the only objective was to bring me back to the ground,
Every ignore, every neglect, was calculated to make me wince,
But only the louder flapping of my determined wings they could evince.

There were hundreds depending on me, to prove they too could fly,
And destiny owns the entire window, but not an inch of the sky,
All it takes, is to realise, that the walls and windows are a lie,
A simple realisation that has so far kept me flying high.

The harshest lies and toughest blows cannot force a single tear,
Because it isn’t the pain or sorrow, that I truly fear,
In this relentless battle to tarnish my unsullied name,
Am afraid, that stopping flying, will lower my head in shame.

Obviously for the Mirror. I always had this fantasy about this joke of naming a glue after Icarus. Imagine creating a gum and branding it Icarus. Funny though it may sound, paradoxically life is such a glue. We fail a thousand times at things that we believe we will never succeed in. But if we took each of those feathers, and stuck all of them together and used them to propel our next attempt, there is no doubt, success is not the only barrier we will breach. Letting petty insults, and temporary blows affect our opinion of progress will only serve to melt our confidence to the ground. Brushing them aside with every stroke of our hand, will make sure they understand their place in the scheme of things, while ensuring we soar.

The most important thing to remember, is that the only person who can damage your self-confidence, is you. Through a lack of trust in yourself, you help anyone determined enough to distract you from the goal to win. Trying to fly with a single feather will keep you grounded forever. But, flying with a thousand feathers, will take you to new heights, provided you can keep each of them glued together, and self-confidence is that glue, the one modern day Icaruses lack.

I was going to post this after I got a new job, but then figured, what the heck, a little morale booster can’t hurt. Although wings are cool, Dangerous Dave’s jetpack won’t hurt once in a while. So, for those who know what you did, this is my anthem declaring your failure, because trickery and deceit can win on one day, but the human spirit of endeavour will the victor forever.

Effortless

Man has always been fascinated by the mysteries of the sea,
Maybe because there isn’t an inch of land that’s left free,
So he sets about elaborately courting the ocean,
Alas, if only to his own follies he paid such attention.

For the idle stroller on the early morning beach,
It throws a few cowrie shells within easy reach,
For those too leisured to even walk back and forth,
They simply content themselves with its bubbly froth.

For those eagerly waiting ashore to grab,
It spits out an unlucky or two crab,
And for those too meek to wrestle their own fate,
It merely washes their footprints along with their feet.

For those hoping they can find a boat to launch,
It keeps them grounded with a colourful conch,
And for those who will not be content with merely a wish,
It always washes up a score of patterned starfish.

For those that do venture out in their hard-earned sailboat,
It teases them with fishes too alive to play dead-and-afloat,
And for those who can together cast a crafty net,
Few dozen fishes and a reason for return is all they get.

For the one who swims inside, shoulder against the tide,
To those depths where the first of its secrets abide,
Bearing every insult the capsizing waves deign to hurl,
To him it grudgingly abandons, the coveted mother-of-pearl.

For those merely interested in finding the horizon,
It keeps them busy with the scattering light of a setting sun,
From those concerned about their shoes, to those willing to lose their shirt,
The sea pays them all, to each according to their own risk and effort.

A self-explanatory one for the Gazebo. This was inspired by a line in a background song for the movie Vedam. One the face of it simple, yet profoundly philosophical. The poem has lots of factual inconsistencies, but what the hell, it’s a poem, not a scientific article on oceanography. The message is simple, the sea throws out many things to tempt man, froth, corals, shells, fish, and what not. But the sea never throws out its pearls, they are reserved for those who will dare enough to get into the sea. Each of us gets rewarded by what Investment Managers call, the ‘Risk-Reward Equation’. Although, it may not seem immediate and in-your-face, the reward is always commensurate with your efforts.

Free

The words finally come out, but are they free to go?
The reason they were released, you’re the only one to know,
I can’t ask those words because they just wouldn’t slow,
So all that we can do is merely go with their flow.

Just by themselves, they are merely listings in a lexicon,
But they can’t only mean that they mean, I reckon,
For, if only everything was as clear as the day,
I wouldn’t give a second though to anything you say.

But words are merely the method of an instrument,
One that can ask not, only mutely implement,
Whereas the mind is what the mind is,
And you very well know why I remind this.

The real orders come from the guilty one, the mind,
That elusive birthplace of every thought you can find,
It seeds them, waters them, weeds them, and reaps them,
All the while making you believe, you farmered them.

So you believe, that happiness is the result of an occurrence,
And that sorrow is consistent, only in its recurrence,
That you emotions are really well-thought reactions,
Caused purely as a result of somebody else’s actions.

You fail to realise you are a pawn in a wonderful game,
Where the mind puppets you, to live up, to you name,
Be always wary of the one that pulls those strings,
For that is the one who created all these things.

So every time you think you are free to say what you feel,
Free to objectively think and what you said you feel,
Remember, you’re an eternal prisoner of your own mind,
And it uses your weakest and simplest thoughts to forever bind.

This one is for the Gazebo. It is a sort of mixture of fact and fantasy. With Robo/Endhiran coming up for release this month-end, i thought it only pertinent to explore a favourite thought of Isaac Asimov. Is there such a thing like mind control, and if there is, can we really control our minds? Reminds me of the Mirabai bhajan “Chalo re man, chalo re man, ganga yamuna teer”. So often we believe that we know what we are doing, but in retrospect realise we were above our heads on that one. And more often than that we believe we know what is right and what is wrong, and that we consciously choose the path from among the two.

Alas there could be nothing more misguided than that. Not only do we merely have a belief of what is good and bad, as opposed to a knowledge of the same, we can’t even distinguish between the two at times. The fault does not entirely lie with our mental faculties, fundamentally right and wrong are not black and white issues, and it is the ignorance that they should be either black or white that causes the conflict. This poem was also my tribute to the movie Raavan that beautifully depicted those shades of grey, those means-justify-the-ends versus one-man’s-good-is-another-man’s-bad versus how-much-bad-can-we-get-to-accomplish-a-supposedly-good-thing dilemmas. One can only truly be free when one can function beyond the control of one’s own mind.

Walk Back

When you get another of those envious stares,
From solitarily climbing the endless stairs,
And you understand, why sharing makes the burden more light,
That is when you feel, you shouldn’t have let me out of sight.

When you break out into a jealous smile,
Knowing not, the genuine one for a while,
And you realise, what really made up that happiness,
That is when you know, what you really miss is the togetherness.

When tear after tear, tears itself away,
Hoping to finally find their own way,
And you comprehend, why they wouldn’t walk with you,
That is when you regret, the path that life took you.

When the thing closest to your heart is fear,
The feeling that the inevitable is much too near,
And you agree, that this is not the way things should end,
That is when you hope, there is still time to mend.

When what you need most is a friend,
Searching for someone you can depend,
And you acknowledge, there is no one who wants to stay,
That is when you see, you are far down the wrong way.

When you feel that you really have everything,
Yet, there is something that’s still missing,
And you fathom, it’s about me somehow,
That is when you believe, what’s missing is love.

But regardless of what you do, think, and feel,
I shall always wait for you wounds to fully heal,
Because, in life, each of us sometimes goes off-track,
What’s important, is that you have the courage to walk back.

This is another one for the Gazebo. We all make mistakes, and there are two ways to correct it. When the other person makes a mistake, pretend they are beyond redemption and Walk Away, or understand they are human and forgive them. This one is about the second path. Need i say more?

Walk Away

When you hold me, to shake me awake,
And not even the slightest effort I make,
That is when you should realise, the more I dream,
That much longer our relationship will take to redeem.

When you feel me, throbbing with a secret pain,
And yet all I share with you is the disdain,
That is when you should realise, the more you stay,
The slower you would have been, in going your own way.

When you see me, honestly paying attention,
And yet cannot recall anything you mention,
That is when you should realise, the more I listen,
The faster should those strides of yours hasten.

When you hear me, earnestly telling you something,
And somehow none of the words have any meaning,
That is when you should realise, the more I talk,
The greater should be your resolve to get up and walk.

When you know me, and still want to forgive everything,
And I don’t feel that is worth anything,
That is when you should realise, the more you forgive,
The lesser is the time this love has, to live.

Despite every disappointment, when you look into my heart,
And see the heart of a stranger, please quickly depart,
Before this stranger can convince you to delude yourself,
That I will someday reform and become myself.

Given the years together, I know this won’t be easy,
Sometimes you just need to do the things that make you queasy,
But as long as you can still live for another day,
Today, and now, is the best time to just walk away.

This is another one for the Gazebo. Sometimes after years of living with a person, you realise things are just not working out. The other person is talking apples, while you are talking jackfruits. What then is the best course? This is a part of a two-poem series that looks at the alternatives.

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