Friday, October 10, 2014


In the canyons of the city, where the traffic winds its way,
I had wandered for a lifetime, so it seemed, that autumn day.
And the frenzy of the city, where the workers run and toil –
It had entered in my being, it had rooted in my soil.
I was born of man and woman, but had grown to something else.
For the god who reigned was Mammon, who is lord of human hells.
And all that is of Nature – of  water, earth and air,
Was routed, extirpated – what remained was my despair.
For so it is with workers, who must labor in the mills,
Where our demons are our masters, so our virtues there are ills.
Not the cycle of the seasons, not the surging of the tides,
But the pulsing of the street-lights is the rhythm that resides.
In the canyons of the city, in the factories of hell,
I had turned into a zombie, as I then could clearly tell.
As the winds of fall were blowing, as the rivers flowed to sea,
I was standing at the crosswalk, and I knew I’d ceased to be.
2014 October 10th, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York


Rana Bose said...

Am in downtown Ithaca.....reading your lines. And while I feel much of what you say... I would not despair. I am not a confined hegelian or a priority but I do think that there is a self correction on the way.

Arjun Janah said...

Hi Rana,

Thanks for reading "Zombie" and for the supportive comment.

Please do not take the darker lines in my verses too seriously. I am by nature and rearing an easily contented person.

But one sees also the injustice and insanity all around, including in one's profession and place of work.

One tries to fight these or fix these in small ways, but one despairs at times that there will ever be any movement away from, or even recognition of, the delusions, the cruelties and the madness.

That said, things do go in cycles or spirals -- and hopefully, as you say, the systems will self-correct at least a bit as they recoil from the consequences of some extremes. Let us hope...

Unfortunately, there seems to be an absence of robust feedback and correction mechanisms.

In physics, there is usually the damping or friction term that provides resistance through contact with the rest of the world. In the absence of this, a system can oscillate wildly, more and more, as it is perturbed randomly or driven.

This, unfortunately, is what we see in many of the systems we have -- economic, educational and political.

The colors of the fall have not yet come to Brooklyn, but they might be visible upstate in Ithaca and surely in Montreal and its environs. I hope they provide some views of nature that are healing.