Saturday, December 17, 2011

Addictions


Addictions

I never drank my fill of wine or beer or heady liquor,
Except for once, when I was young and still in youthful vigor.
I never took more drags than one on weed that passed around,
I never smoked more cigarettes than one in a daily round.
I snorted once some powder, when a post-doc in the west,
And knew at once that this, for me, was clearly not the best.

I drink a cup or two a day of coffee, sweet, with milk,
And tea aplenty when I eat of noodles and their ilk,
And I'm addicted now, for years approaching nearly seven,
To writing, typing verses that have more of hell than heaven.
And I had written chapters long on states of schools in trouble,
But more than all of this I've spent on working shifts of double.

If only I were paid for both, I could have now retired,
But since I never was or could, I've just grown old and tired.
And when I cease from working, why—the demons in my brain
That never had a place before, play tricks I can't explain.
For conflicts deep have entered and have ravaged the seat of reason,
And there's no drug to cure that wound, nor hope of a kinder season.

So now I understand, perhaps, addictions all around,
For when the peace within is lost, then devils do abound.
And all around, the manic race, and all around, the wars,
The destruction that is senseless, mad, come not from baleful stars,
But from addictions deep, profound that rise from lack of peace,
And till that peace within is found, these conflicts will not cease.

Babui / Arjun
2011 December 17th, Sat.
Brooklyn
   

Friday, November 18, 2011

Strange Encounter -- II

              
Strange Encounter -- II
             
I met my mates the other night, down at the local pub,
It was our weekly gathering, it was our social hub.
My wife had told me earlier, "Do not carouse till late!
I want you home tonight, my dear, to eat with mom, at eight!"

But I had had a bit too much, of public house's ale,
And did my pals, with stories loud and boisterous, regale.
And when I realized, alas, that I was running late,
I took a short cut (so I thought) as it was well past eight.

And as I wandered homeward, why, I seemed to turn about,
And all was turning, as I turned, and I began to shout.
But sadly, no one answered -- and so, I silent fell.
And all around was silence -- and dark as bloody hell.

I felt, of sudden weary, and leaned upon a tree.
And shut my eyes for just a bit, to be, of tiredness, free...
And when I opened eyes again, I felt so much refreshed,
I set off striding jauntily, by my own self impressed...

But then, as I was striding, I looked around and saw
An unfamiliar setting that filled me with some awe.
It was a sylvan wilderness -- with starlight it was lighted.
It was a little frightening -- and yet I felt delighted.

For this, I sensed, was where I'd been, a long long time ago,
And this, I knew, was where they were, the ones who were no more,
The fairies and the pixies and the goblins and the trolls
And all the little beings who had played their little roles.

In the middle of that forest, where the fairies gather 'round,
I heard a soft and eerie, yet a joyful kind of sound.
It was midnight, it was moonless -- and through the silent dark,
I heard that gentle throbbing -- and to its sound did hark.

And on glimpsing, in the distance, a strange and ghostly glow,
I hurried, heart pulsating, determined, then, to know
From where and why this throbbing, from where and why this light,
That gave me trepidation -- and filled me with delight.

And then I saw a clearing -- and through it shone a star
That hypnotized me, briefly, with twinkling light afar.
And when I shut and opened -- my eyes, by star enthralled,
I saw the small ones dancing, as other wee ones called.

Oh surely they were graceful, oh surely they trod light,
But they were more than graceful, they were a wondrous sight.
I saw then, lanterns glowing, as summer glow-worms glow.
And other lights were moving, in midnight firefly show.

I heard the sound grow louder and then appear to fade,
Until I heard but silence -- and felt again afraid.
But then, like chorus rising, I heard the calls begin
And knew that they were gentle, untouched by worldly sin.

It was the sound of water, it was the sound of breeze,
It was a gentle murmur that set my heart at ease.
I floated on that rising, I drifted on that ebb,
To sound I did surrender, ensnared in woven web.

How long that seance lasted, I really do not know.
I woke at dawn's arrival, as east began to glow.
And then, I wandered homeward, to scolding from my spouse,
Who thought, perhaps, her chosen was just a drunken louse.

What matter? I just kissed her -- and roundly, on both cheeks,
And bounded past to mattress, the one that loudly squeaks.
And there I fell like timber, to dream again in wonder,
To see again that dancing in that uncertain yonder...

Babui / Arjun
2011 November 18th, Friday, 9:30 pm
Brooklyn
 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Here Was My Village

 
Here Was My Village
 
There is the tree, by the side of the pond,
Where the elders would gather. The children were fond
Of climbing its branches and hearing them speak.
And there was the dance, at the end of the week,
There, where the grasses are growing so green,
And all is now quiet and peaceful, serene.
 
Once there was singing and dancing and more,
The laughter resounding that now is no more,
The coming and going of women and men,
The play of the little ones, plentiful then,
Whose faces I see and whose names I recall,
There, where the grasses are growing so tall.
 
Here was a village, where now there is none,
For a nation has lost and another has won,
And all that is left, of the people that were,
Are the remnants of things, from which they infer --
The ones who now study the shards that they find --
That here was a village, that's still in my mind.
 
Here there was slaughter and here there was death,
Here, the pursuers the pursued had met.
They finished the task they'd been set and returned,
While ashes still smoldered and grasses still burned...
And I had escaped and another small child,
Who once had been gentle but then had grown wild.
 
There, where a sapling has grown to a tree,
Was where I was born, where a hut used to be.
There lived my father, my mother and three,
My brother, my sister and then-little me.
Where are they now, I wonder and turn
Away from the faces I once had seen burn.
 
Babui / Arjun
2011 May 21st, Sat.
Brooklyn
   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Breath of May


Breath of May  
           
I heard a little bird that called
And one that answered gay,
When April was at ending and
We felt the breath of May.

All Winter long, we'd battled and
Awaited tardy Spring.
But Summer's warmth was close at hand,
So little birds could sing.

Babui / Arjun
2011 April 28th, Thu.
Brooklyn
 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wounded Love

    
Wounded Love
                                
How haunting is the cry of wounded love!
How desperate the straits of a lover scorned!
The madness born of love misplaced begets
Such suffering as may eclipse a life --
Or else ignite a soul, so poetry
Bursts forth in flame that casts a light as bright
As revelation from the Lord!

Babui / Arjun
2011 April 22nd, Fri.
Brooklyn

  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

At Springtime

  
    At Springtime

A tree is white with flower,
    Another's tender green.
And yet another's waiting
    For season soft, serene.

At threshold, Spring is knocking
    As Winter bids goodbye,
The little birds are chirping
    And laughter's in the sky.

At curbside, lies a sparrow
    That's bleeding from her neck.
Her head, alas, is missing,
    Her body is a wreck.

But who, at her, is looking,
    On such a glorious day,
When clouds above have parted
    And April hints at May?

The days are slightly warmer,
    The tulips rise up, red,
And there's a new beginning
    For what appeared as dead.

So when will you be coming,
    Who left in wintertime,
To join with us in singing
    At Resurrection-time?

The body's gone, the spirit
    Is wandering, some will say.
As winter ends, this April,
    The Jews and Christians pray.

The Jews remember Egypt
    And their insistent God.
The Christians say their Jesus
    Rose up and is their Lord.

But since I'm not a Christian
    And even less a Jew,
I often wish, at springtime,
    The one, who'd rise, were you.

Some weeks ago, at Holi,
    The colors flew in Hind,
And earlier, in Persia,
    The bonfires waved in wind.

The spring is like the morning,
    The summer like the day,
And autumn's like the evening,
    When daylight fades away.

And then, there is the winter,
    In colder climes, like night.
And that is when you left us.
    You always did what's right.

So though there's condemnation,
    The ones, who knew you well,
Remember that, for justice,
    Our honored martyrs fell.

And you preserved your honor,
    At price that was unjust.
And so, at every Easter,
    In grace, we put our trust.

For parents lost to falsehoods,
    How many children cry!
For Clan or God or Mammon,
    How many more will die?

How many are the parents,
    Through aeons stretching dim,
Who lost their precious children
    To Man's or Fortune's whim?

Will there be Resurrection,
    As ardently believed?
This sparrow, lying headless,
    By traffic, was deceived.

If there's a resurrection,
    This sparrow then will fly.
And you will then be smiling,
    And so, perhaps, will I.

You mother and your father,
    The one you took for spouse,
Will be, with you, united,
    In that ethereal house.

    Babui / Arjun
        2011 April 20th, Wed.
    Brooklyn
  


Saturday, April 9, 2011

And Where Are You?


And Where Are You?
                                                              
I saw you once in winter and you just walked away.
I met you in the springtime but you were with another.
You passed by me in summer and then I heard you say,
"When the leaves come down in autumn, I'll go to meet my brother."

The autumn leaves have fallen and winter winds blow cold.
"And where are you, my sister?" I ask the drifting snow.
The seasons, they are passing, and I am growing old.
And all that I had understood, I now no longer know.

*******

I thought I saw my uncle and then I slipped and fell.
My body took a beating, my spirit did as well.
And in a dream my father reached out to me his hand
But I was busy talking and did not understand.

The one who nursed my sister and cared for me beside,
I looked for her the other day, across the ocean wide.
The sun was slowly sinking and birds flew through the air.
And in the waves came drifting my mother's waving hair.

Babui / Arjun
2011 April 9th, Sat.
Brooklyn
 
In Memoriam
Monua Janah 

1959-2004