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.

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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

Aspirations

The horizon is far, but the sky is even farther,
The euphoria is overflowing, but control is not worth the bother,
The travails of this effort exhaust, but show now, as much as a sigh,
For, is not fatigue indistinguishable, when the spirits are high.

The steps fall rapidly, yet softly and assuredly,
By noon the distance seems to vanish happily, reassuredly,
The peak seems but a few thousand steps away,
Insignificant before the thousands already under way.

There are times when it seems but a distant dream,
But you shrug it off, knowing life is the biggest dream,
For now, all that matters is getting to the peak,
And keeping quiet till your achievements can speak.

Constantly flirting with life, and its every moment,
Not quite sure how every minute, hour, of it went,
But dancing in the arms of destiny everyday,
You are sure, the top of the stairs isn’t far away.

At every step, yesterday’s memories haunt,
And with failures from the past, incessantly taunt,
Unflinchingly you persevere, knowing well the end is near,
And far above, the first tinkle of success’s bells you hear.

You keep fighting on each step, rushing through each door,
As the promised dream gets nearer, floor by floor,
You finally reach the top, take a breath, and look around,
Neither contentment nor disappointment, absolutely no sound.

The emptiness that engulfs you, is so stifling,
And the disappearance of joy is more surprising,
If all eternity could be compressed into one single moment,
You are already through that now receding moment.

Back to active blogging after a sabbatical of exactly one year!!!!!!!!!!!!! This one was promised a year ago to Meghna and is dedicated to her. The last one year has been a thrilling roller-coaster ride plunging more to newer depths and never quite scaling new heights. What matters is i have managed to come out in a single piece and am back to blogging. So Meghna enjoy being a Beacon again.

Threshold

The morning breaks out into a clear blue sky,
And you decide, today is the day, to give it a try,
So you begin, to prepare a schedule, fix the time,
By the time it’s done, the clock strikes noontime.

So busy, engaged in imitating yesterday’s work,
That you forgot, to try and make this schedule work,
Perhaps a little later, maybe the evening you decide,
Another of those opportunities that chance was denied.

Soon the sun too begins to get rid of its glow,
And you’re still busy, catching up with the flow,
When the strength gets weak, and the morale is low,
You coax the schedule to make its clock go more slow.

The sun is unwilling, but the moon cannot wait,
That’s when you realise, that things aren’t right,
You and chance part ways, hopefully only for the night,
Hoping tomorrow would show it in a much better light.

Just close your eyes, and think of the day goneby,
Look at the roads not taken, and ask yourself why,
Then open your eyes, an look above at any star,
And learn to ask how near, instead of how far.

Make sure atleast tomorrow takes you forward,
And doubt not, if progress can only mean onward,
Just because something seems to snap every time you try,
Doesn’t mean there is reason enough to stop and cry.

Because there is always hope, and abundance of it,
Awaiting to be useful, whenever you deem it fit,
There’s always sunrise tomorrow, to emerge from this darkness,
Because every morning you stand, on the threshold of greatness.

This one was a close contest, but I guess the universality was what pushed it into Gazebo from Mirror. This happened to be another of those ways life wakes you up, when you are sleeping at the wheel. In this case it was in the form of my employer. I was happy that I got into a nice comfy job, and had started to neglect my research, justifing it to myself with some or the other excuse. When all of a sudden, when I was almost asleep during an Induction Programme(why do things always strike me in sleep?), I half-heard the word ‘Threshold’.

At that instant, all my sleep vanished aand thoughts suddenly started flowing. In 15 minutes, the whole poem was ready, and once I read it I couldn’t help but agree that it really reflected the sad state of affairs that I could call my present life. The reason I am posting this today, is that I have finally climbed the first step to greatness called ‘effort’. Today morning I finally acheived the breakthrough, I got myself the schematics to the circuit board that I was searching for more than a year. They say life is what happens when everybody is sleeping, so too it did, today morning at 3AM, I finally got the schematics.

Broken Pencil

brokenpencil1.jpg

Fresh from nowhere, it came, baggage in hand,
All I could do was gape, just letting it stand,
Though invited, yet so unwelcome, it would never understand,
While every passing second was encroaching upon its land.

It looked me in the eye, but asked not for pity,
Only shelter for a while, in this now strange city,
Seems only yesterday, it had grown up in this lane,
And today’s sunrise was already mocking it again.

I let it in, harbouring the tiniest hint of a doubt,
And watched as it struggled finding its way about,
Seeing it stumbling around in its own home,
I wonder, all these days, where it did roam.

Relaxed and settled, it asks me what I want,
But this time, it is something even it can’t,
So I smile my best smile, and force myself to say “Nothing”,
If my wishes had wings, I really wouldn’t need anything.

But the tears are something that I still don’t remember,
For, asking it to leave, was the last I could remember,
Surprisingly, I had to be content with crying alone,
Because no one else would accept it as their own.

Out, on the road, it stood just simply staring at me,
Was it pity, sympathy, or merely anxiety for me,
I would never know, because I had to open the door again,
I couldn’t just live every night, imagining our common pain.

So, in, it came, waiting for me to kick it out again,
In this matter, there was nothing I could do to restrain,
Me, I have other things horrible to bear,
Atleast that is something, we both share.

brokenpencil2.jpg

This one is dedicated to Amol Gupte and Aamir Khan for giving this country ‘Taare Zameen Par‘. For showing people what mattered more in life, specially in this country. This was something that had been troubling me right from my childhood, when I would open the paper in my 2nd Standard and read of students hanging themselves to death for not securing a particular rank, or for failing in a particular subject. Right from then I have been wondering what kind of environment produces such parents who put the fear of life or rather sow the germ of death into their children’s minds over a mere number, that might even if true, be merely an addition mistake of the clerk, a printing mistake of the press, or worser still, an irritated evaluator trying to put a value over a year or more worth of the child’s effort within 15 minutes.

Alas such a system should exist where that was all a child was worth, just another commodity. My cow gives 10 litres of milk, my car gives 14 kmpl mileage, my company gives 12 days casual leave annualy, my child gets 98.32% marks or better regularly. Indeed that is what children have finally been reduced to, pawns in a game of oneupmanship with their neighbours. How much did your child get in Maths, do you know how much my kid got in Geography? Is that all there is to a child’s life? Get up in the morning, go for early morning tutions, get ready for school, return from school, get ready and leave for more advanced tutions on the same subject again and again, until the very numbers and words appear as monsters in their dreams.

This poem is titled after a memory of my own childhood, wherein upto the 4th Standard we were supposed to use only pencils, and everyday before each session of classes began, the teachers used to sharpen the 40-odd pencils and put them in the pencil box, for us to collect as we entered the class after the morning prayer. We would all rush to get our hands on the pencils first, rather than the books. Probably because, the books were all the same, but the pencils weren’t. Some were sharper than the rest, some were longer than the rest. Everybody wanted the sharpest and longest pencil for themselves. Weren’t the rest of them also pencils, weren’t they equally useful if not immediately in the condition they were. We never knew then. Atleast I know now. A child’s life too has become like a pencil in that box, there is that constant competition that is created to be the tallest and sharpest among the rest. Unfortunately no parent or teacher seems to realise that the more you sharpen a pencil, the shorter it gets. Alas they seem to care not, that the length of the pencil is its very life, its childhood.

Although this poem was initially supposed to cover my heartlfelt feelings on the subject, something deep within stoppped me from putting everything down immediately, it was probably too much even for me to bear. So it turned out into a very very very abstract rendition of the fight every child has to fight between following his dreams, and being reluctantly awakened to their parents expectations of them, thus being forced to push the dream from their lives and fill it with words and numbers. But not for long, as these dreams continue to haunt them everyday, in the many forms of other children they see, other children that they hear about, other lives they only wish they could live. This one is also for all those dreams that have no voice.

So this poem should only be treated as the first in a series of installments on this topic that I will soon be bringing out. Hope that will soothe my anxiety to more human levels.

Pair Of Wings

Sad, dejected, half-heartedly, I continued to walk,
Wishing I had somebody, to whom I could freely talk,
Someone human, someone imperfect, someone fallible,
Someone who believed in the concept of impossible.

SomeoneĀ  who sympathised with the mind’s inherent weakness,
Someone who empathised about society’s ironclad harness,
Someone who realised that living itself, was life’s greatest progress,
Someone who yet understood, why everyone, must someday digress.

I suspected nothing when my feet never touched the ground,
My mistake, I believed that such a thing shouldn’t astound,
What else were dreams for, if not to fly,
Where else was a freedom, none need buy.

Though you weren’t mortal, I thought it mattered not,
Apparently that was the first flaw in my thought,
Thought the days, the clock, was running out on me,
You never worried, time wasn’t something you could see.

Maybe the problem was, you couldn’t feel at all,
You could foresee the mistakes, but not stop the fall,
You wish so much, to correct me, comfort me,
Yet I am more astray than even you can see.

Not just a lifetime, we are completely lives apart,
And so I only wish you too had atleast a heart,
For, that distinction between our souls divides us,
So that we must exist, neither as one, nor as us.

You never could get those embracing arms, not even a conscience,
Thus we stand, thus we float, my body in between, like a fence,
So I decided, to ascend, leaving behind all bothering things,
Sadly proud, of having finally got, my own pair of wings.

This one is dedicated to Nicolas Cage and his intriguing eyes and wonderful performance in City of Angels. The movie joined my list of all-time favourite movies, for one simple reason, it has the first pre-requisite, a sad ending(something I call a KB ending, Indians don’t seem to have caught up on that front yet, since there are hardly any recent movies that have made it to this list with the exception of ‘Gamyam‘.

This poem was my own interpretation of what I might possibly do if faced with such a dilemma as Meg Ryan faces in the movie. Although it takes the premise further, hope it is justifiable in the name of poetic licence(the point that if in the movie, angels could descend into mortals, surely we too can ascend into angels???).

Chained

To stretch your arms, yet feel them cuffed,
To free up your ears, yet feel them stuffed,
To see something, and yet feel so blind,
To walk ahead, and be left far behind.

It was such a beautiful dream, a fantasy,
It seemed too true to dismiss as mere fancy,
There was so much to your life, so much that you had to hope,
It so engulfed you to wonder, if one lifetime was enough to cope.

Chasing little butterflies across the field,
You wandered onto new roads far afield,
There was so much to walk, and nothing to see,
Which made you doubt, what it meant to be free.

As time passed, the dream broke up into fragments,
And life mixed them up, and jumbled the contents,
And you know not, if it is destiny or dream,
Or really far away reality can seem.

Legs weighed down by anchors of responsibility,
Hands stand cuffed by illusions of social inability,
And the mouth seeks not the adventure,
Of areas the mind no longer wants to venture.

The eyes though free, are pained to tears,
Having witnessed the dream shattering over the years,
Sad indeed is the story of these fetters that bind,
And poor dreams, worser still that you can’t mind.

You chose to put these onto yourself of own accord,
Maybe circumstances forced you to tighten the cord,
But better wake up before the knots get too tight,
And the already frustrated dream gets out of sight.

This one is dedicated to Nagalakshmi, partly because I couldn’t find a person who was more apt for it, and mainly because it reflected the metamorphosis from a person I knew to an extent to a person I may no longer know, or maybe believe I can no longer recognise.

Though this one is dedicated, it doesn’t mean it has nothing to do with me. In fact I see this dedication more as a precursor to the kind of person I am slowly becoming, and can trace through it the metamorphosis I myself am undergoing. We all grow up with some dreams, some aspirations, mostly just fancies, but some deep desires that we wish we could fulfill in this lifetime. Then along the way, somehow we shift track and find ourselves on a totally new journey, watching the old track part in a different direction in front of our own eyes.

This poem was a abstract representation of the dreams that I thought she had, and the reality that now envelops, the same way it is the representation of the way I am slowly becoming, and of the fate that is becoming apparent of my dreams.

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