Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Mammon’s Jaws

 
In Mammon’s Jaws

We are angry at the others, we are angry at ourselves.
We are saddened, we are sickened and we find we are in hells.
What’s the reason for the anger, for the sadness and malaise?
What’s turned us all to turtles that are hiding in their shells?

That’s a question I would answer, if I suddenly could see
Through all of my confusion to the thing that’s driving this.
But I do not have that vision, so I’ll let you have a try.
If you figure out the answer, let me know then what it is.

You might give to me an instance, and that I will accept.
But if you’d dig a little deeper, to be nearer to the cause
That is driving humans crazy—and not only you and me—
I’ll be grateful for your efforts, as we writhe in Mammon’s jaws.

It’s a thing that’s new and ancient. It was then and it is now.
Is it evil? Is it madness? Is it sorrow at the heart?
I could ramble on about it, but I know that isn'’t wise.
So I’ll leave you with the question, as I bow and I depart

2017 October 18th, Wed.
Berkeley, California
 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Self and Other--The Cooler Spots in Hell


Self and Other  (The Cooler Spots in Hell)

The mantra is—it's I and me
And then perhaps some others.
And off to hell with all the rest!
We aren't sisters, brothers—

For even if by chance we were,
We now no longer are.
So each is free to cheat and steal.
All's fair, in hate and war.

And so we've made a hell for most,
And heaven for the vile,
Who sit upon their thrones of gold
And look at us and smile.

We hate the ones who're far away.
We hate the ones who're near.
We hate each other, even those
Who surely should be dear.

It's self that is the king, be it
The self of self or more.
The others are our enemies
Or those we should ignore.

And how is it we've come to this,
Where brother turns on brother?
We've bitten on the hook, whose bait
Is that of self and other.

Oh wake up from this dream, and see
The other too is you
As you are him or her or it.
Those bonds, again renew—

For lonely is the heart that lives
In isolation long.
Rejoin this world of joy and woe—
The one where you belong.

But see, we now are penned apart,
By pressure or by choice.
How rarely can one leap the fence
And then, in tears, rejoice!

We're told that we have freedom, yet
We now are worse than slaves—
For look at whom we adulate
And see how he behaves.

If only we could find within
That innocence of old,
And also all the wisdom lost,
In Man's pursuit of gold!

How many pounds and shillings earned,
At the dearest of expense?
How many starved, or burned alive
To raise the margin’s pence?

We prey upon each other and
We praise the ones who feast,
While mocking those who're feasted on,
In west and south and east—

For in those lands the natives too
Are preying on each other,
Although they still, on meeting, use
The greetings, “Sister!”, “Brother!”

But those are turned to empty words.
We use the behen or bhai, *
But then we set that all aside,
For each must sell and buy.

So each of us is caught within
That net that snares the world.
We see but self and other, so
We each are lured and hurled—

To land within the cooking pot.
And there we simmer, fry,
As all around we hear the ones,
Who suffer, wail and cry.

But look—how many stop their ears
And say that all is well.
They've found themselves the cooler spots
That still exist in hell.

2017 October 16th, Mon.

* behen, bhai:  sister, brother, in Hindi-Urdu and other languages of northern India and Pakistan
  
These terms are habitually used in some regions not only for siblings but more generally, including as a title or in greetings. This was meant to express sisterhood/brotherhood—as was, and in places still is, common in many cultures, especially rural ones, all over the world.
  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Wonders


What Wonders

When all we see is sorrow, let us then remember joy.
When all is utter darkness, let us then recall the light.
When all around is meanness, let us then remember love.
When all we hear is wailing, let us then recall the song.

And let us all remember that the moment is the prize
That yields its passing pleasure or yields instead its pain.
That moment, let us savor, let us greet it as a friend,
Who was with us when we started and will be at the end.

We are here between the atoms and the stars that light the sky.
We are stretched between the starting and the ending of the all.
We are less than motes in sunbeams, we are ants that crawl and die,
And yet we are as oceans that have depths that hold the all.

We are nothing that is special—no more than drifting leaves,
No more than dust that’s blowing—or specks of froth on waves.
And yet we sit and worry and grasp what we should yield.
But see—we ply our sciences and all our trades and arts.

Oh sing of this creation that needs no artisan!
Oh raise your arms in wonder and dance beneath the stars.
What filigrees are woven, what horrors and delights!
Oh savor this—your being, and your passing days and nights.

What wonder and what torture, what pleasure and what pain!
Our yesterdays forgotten, our tomorrows never known,
Our day, from dawn to sunset, our night in which we dream—
What meaning, in this marvel that’s the life that never stays?

I do not know the meaning and I doubt the ones who preach.
I’ve spent my life in learning and I’ve tried my best to teach.
But as my days are ending and I’m yearning for my rest,
I remember still your kindness, in this heart that you had blessed.

I still recall your singing as I still recall the dawn
As the dusk is now descending and I know that I’ll be gone.
I have seen the stony faces, I have sensed the hearts of stone,
But I still recall your smiling—and I know I’m not alone.

And so to those who hear me, I am calling from the past.
Let your present be your treasure, for the little while you last.
Remember still your pleasures, releasing all your pains—
And laughing at your losses, surrender all your gains.

2017 October 10th, Tue. 
  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saint or Sinner?


Saint or Sinner?

Show us a sinner or show us a saint,
And we’ll find, in the first one, an aspect of worth,
And then, in the second, as surely, a taint—
For such are the natures of beings on Earth.

Let's open the corrals we use to constrain
The field of our fellows to friends and to foes,
And know—that these boxes we try to maintain
May often be nests that can nurture our woes.

Let's value a friendship, beware of a foe,
Yet open a passage where beings may flow,
For such are their natures, not solid, but more
Of a fluid—at times, like the breezes that blow.

So is he a “saint” or is he a “sinner”?
Or if we're like Trump, and addicted to sin,
Then is he a “loser” or is he a “winner”?
Could sinners be saints, just as losers might win?

And is she a blessing or is she a pain,
Or is she a bit of them both?  It is time
That we leave you to think, as we end this refrain
That we've couched, for your pleasure, in meter and rhyme.

2017 September 25th Mon.
(2nd-to-last stanza and minor edits added October 1st, Sun.)


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Soft and the Loud


The Soft and the Loud 

The words of those who’re humble
are rarely harsh or sharp.
They often have the music
of a gently fingered harp.

And yet a voice that’s softer
can hide a vengeful heart.
So words are used as weapons
by those who've learned that art.

And those who speak out louder
may have a cause sincere
and bravely speak for others
whose throats are dry from fear.

There’s rarely gain from volume
where reasoned words would do.
We might prevail from shouting
but lose our bearings too.

******

A parent who’s beleaguered,
a teacher who is stressed—
might raise a voice in anger
yet leave things unaddressed.

And so it is with siblings—
with friends and lovers too.
And so it is with spouses 
and all like me and you.
  
We’re better when we’re softer,
but best when paying mind.
Let’s listen and let’s reason—
not forgetting to be kind.
   
There is a time for whispers.
There is a time for screams.
There is a time for talking,
for silence—and for dreams.
  
****** 
  
How often, words are uttered
that lack in grace and art—
the words of ire, derision—
that show a lapse of heart.
   
Let’s notice when we’re angered—
and count those breaths of ten
that should be slow and measured
to lead us back to zen.
  
Let’s notice when we’re fearful—
and breathe then, once again,
to find the strength and courage
to speak and act—and when.
  
There is a time for speaking.
There is a time for pause.
For thought and word and action,
there should be sight and cause.

******

We each have had our traumas—
and some of us were spoiled.
Too often, we are blinded—
and our whips are then uncoiled.
    
So scorpions use their stingers
and dogs might use their jaws.
But notice cats who’re playing
and how they sheathe their claws.
  
We're often steered by habits—
and each of these has use.
But if they are our masters
the outcome is abuse.
  
Each day is a beginning.
Each moment is a start.
It also is a dying—
that gives a chance to heart.
  
******

Let’s leave behind our losses.
Let’s leave our hurts behind.
We’re neither serfs nor bosses.
Let’s keep that truth in mind.
  
We see the anger rising.
We see the fear that spreads.
We breathe and watch them moving—
our rages, lusts and dreads.
  
We bow and meet the anger.
We smile and greet the fear.
We laugh with all our passions—
for each of these is dear.

There’s grief that’s deep within us.
There’s joy that bubbles still.
Let’s leave the world in leisure
and wreak no more of ill.
 
2016 mid-October (the first five stanzas) 
and 2017 August 30th, Wed. (the rest)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tweety Grump and Taunting Kim


Tweeting Grump and Taunting Kim
.
Tweety Bird and Mister Grump were married one fine day,
And in due time a son was born, whose name I now must say.
His name is "Donald Trump", but he is "Tweety Grump" as well.
And that is why he’s such a grump and why he tweets each day.
.
At sunrise, birds arise to tweet and Donald does that too.
But what he tweets are grumps and dumps, received by me and you.
The twitter of the birds at dawn, we sadly find displaced
By that of grumpy Donald Trump—until he is replaced.
.
*********
.
But whoah! He's met his match in him—that spoiled and laughing brat,
Who rules where bombs had fallen till they'd left the cities flat.
And wow! As Tweeting Grump says "Boo!", so also Taunting Kim
Replies with shoo's that match our Grump—or even besting him.
.
So Tweeting Grump and Taunting Kim agree to have a battle.
For Taunting Kim, says Tweeting Grump, has made a bad new rattle.
And as for us, we do not know to laugh or quake in fear—
For though we're rolling on the floor, we sense our end is near.
.
2017 Aug 12th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York
 

Kim and Trump, with ballistic penises
source: 

https://www.facebook.com/cecil.gover/posts/10208057776442260

   

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Drums of War

 
The Drums of War

Can those, who make the music, slaughter too?
Can he, who wrote the verses, drop the bomb?
It seems it cannot be—and yet it is.
Our monsters swim beneath our waves of bliss.

At heaven’s gates, we find the demon-guard.
The beauty and the beast are always one.
We copulate—and practice martial arts.
The drums of war recall our mothers’ hearts.

How tender was the hand that struck the blow!
How swift, the passing of the ancient rite!
We cling to comforts as we hold to hopes.
How harsh, the laughter as we're made the dopes!

The “times of peace” can match the times of war
In horrors that will never come to light.
So virtuous men and women earn that wage
That Mammon serves to serfs in every age.
 
The ones, who seem to us the sanest, wreak
Yet greater havoc than the maddest men.
We have, upon this planet, just a while.
Amidst the mayhem, is there time to smile?

We sing our songs, as flutes and zithers play.
We beat upon the drums; we sway and dance.
But listen—there’s a music singing this:
“We heeded duty—and we savored bliss.”

We march to battles, led by wailing pipes.
And then, amidst the dissonance of war
Or caught within the madness of our jobs,
We yearn for peace—with every pulse that throbs.

But who can slip the knot that strangles us?
The more we try, the tighter is it grip.
We’ve had no peace, and hear, while still in pain—
The drums of war are beating yet again.
 
2017 August 4th, Fri.
New York, New York
    

Thursday, July 20, 2017

From Ape to Ape


From Ape to Ape



I am a monkey, and so are you
and so are all of us.
Monkeys see and monkeys do.
So why then all the fuss?

When monkeys do not like to see
or hear, they close their eyes
and ears, and also stop their mouths—
for truths as well as lies.

And so we also do, my friends.
That's you and I and he.
The things we do not like—those things,
we neither hear nor see.

But then a time arrives, for each—
or most of us, I'd say.
And then, we're shocked to hear and see,
and so, like asses, bray.

So monkeys are, to donkeys, turned.
And so it is with apes.
We once had swung from branches. Now,
we're swinging by our napes.

2017 July 20th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Faith-II


Faith-II

A face of beauty, like a flower’s bloom,
is but a passing thing that brings us joy
and then remains awhile in memory.
A heart of beauty—that of selfless love—
is what endures and gives to life its grace.

And though we each are like a blowing cloud
that rises and dissolves, we still can live
our lives in love—and so in partial peace,
however much the winds of hatred howl,
as tortured lives cry out for their release.

Let’s light our lamps, as sunset turns to dusk,
and through the darkness, as the planets wheel,
then guard those flickers, till it’s time to sleep.
And if we’ve tried to cleanse ourselves of sins,
our slumber might be restful, long and deep.

And when we wake, it’s then another day,
with trials old and new—and yet with hope.
Amidst despair, we still can try to be
aware of all the wonder of this world—
where cruelty and kindness coexist.

2017 July 2nd, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York
------------------------------------------------------

Related:  Faith 
http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2017/07/faith_30.html )

  

Friday, June 30, 2017

Love


Love


"What is love?" you ask, my friend, although you surely know.


We each can see it manifest--in actions, more than words.


Like envy, anger, grief and hope, it's felt--and then we know.


It leads outside the self and so it fills and heals the heart.


So self is sacrificed, without a thought or a complaint.


Without it, we are lost indeed--and wish we could depart.


No matter what the measure and no matter which the species,


The give and take of love is joy and pain--through all the ages.


2017 June 30, Fri.

Brooklyn, New York
   

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not in Substance or in Form


Not in Substance or in Form

When you and I have vanished and those we knew are gone,

there still will be the sunrise, the morning and the noon,
and the afternoon will follow and the stars emerge at dusk.
The moon will have its phases and the planets wend their ways,
and the seasons too will cycle as this sphere goes ‘round its sun.
  
When the myths of men and women and the truths that they had gleaned
are lost and are forgotten, and our race is no more here,
the stars will still be burning in the vastness of the dark,
and the species will be rising and then ebbing like the waves
on the myriad specks that orbit in their spirals without end.

But our sun will wax in redness as the inner planets burn

as those other suns before it and those other planets did.
And the thoughts that we were thinking and the feelings that we had—
and all that gave us meaning and the works on which we strove—
will they leave perhaps their traces? Not in substance or in form. 

2017 June 29th, Thu.

Brooklyn, New York
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Uniquely (among all my hundreds of posts on this blog) this post seems to have been duplicated. This might have occurred while I was trying to get each verse line to fit within one page line. I seem to have not quite succeeded here, where I have used the "Times New Roman" font, with the "small" font-size. 

But if you want each line to fit as it should, and have good eyesight, please see the duplicate of this post, where I have used the blog's default font, but with the "smallest" font-size. That is at:

 http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2017/06/not-in-substance-or-in-form.html 
  

Not in Substance or in Form (smalllest font)

  
For a larger font, please see the duplicate of this post, at: 
http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2017/06/not-in-substance-or-in-form_29.html 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  
Not in Substance or in Form  (smallest font)

When you and I have vanished and those we knew are gone,
there still will be the sunrise, the morning and the noon,
and the afternoon will follow and the stars emerge at dusk.
The moon will have its phases and the planets wend their ways,
and the seasons too will cycle as this sphere goes ‘round its sun.

When the myths of men and women and the truths that they had gleaned
are lost and are forgotten, and our race is no more here,
the stars will still be burning in the vastness of the dark,
and the species will be rising and then ebbing like the waves
on the myriad specks that orbit in their spirals without end.

But our sun will wax in redness as the inner planets burn—

as those other suns before it and those other planets did.
And the thoughts that we were thinking and the feelings that we had—
and all that gave us meaning and the works on which we strove—
will they leave perhaps their traces?  Not in substance or in form.

2017 June 29th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Uniquely (among all my hundreds of posts on this blog) this post seems to have been duplicated. This might have occurred while I was trying to get each verse line to fit within one page line. I seem to have succeeded here, by using the default font, with the "smallest" font-size.

But if you want a slightly larger font, please see the duplicate of this post, where I have used the "Times New Roman" font in the "small" font-size. That is at: 
http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2017/06/not-in-substance-or-in-form_29.html 
  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Respect


Respect

You can take me to the water,
but you cannot make me drink.
You can puzzle me with questions,
but you cannot make me think.

When I’m little, I may listen
and I even might obey.
But when I’ve grown in seasons,
I will go my chosen way.

You can give me all your reasons,
you can say what’s right and wrong.
And I’ll listen to your speeches,
but I still might hum my song.

That’s the way of all the beings
who are free to choose and err.
I can learn from all my trials,
if you’ll let me do that, sir.

If you force me to obedience—
to saying you are right,
you will lose what you have conquered
by insistence or by might.
 
For a person, robbed of freedom,
is a person robbed of joy.
I will sulk and be resentful
of the means that you employ.

So tell me what you’re thinking
and then show me the respect
that I need to make decisions.
That is all that I expect.

There is room for compromises,
for yielding and retaining.
If you’re rigid in your thinking,
I’ll be only fit for training.
 
But I also am a person,
with my likes and my concerns.
So I offer you my friendship,
if you’ll let me have my turns.

There are things that I can tell you.
There are things I’d rather not.
If you show that you are open,
you might even learn a lot.

2017 June 25th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York
  

Friday, June 23, 2017

Baba (Dear Father)


Baba (Dear Father)

The summer solstice came and went—and now
the date approaches when you left this life
and so returned to nothingness again.

So mother too had left, a month before—
like you, before the school-year came to end
and set me free, for August and July—
too late, that year, for her—and then for you.

And so your daughter too had gone—before
you both—and left us all disconsolate.

******

Now school is ending—and there’s time to pause,
returning home—to sit within a park,
the playground of a school, bereft of trees—
with tar and concrete, where there should be grass.

So here I sit and bask in summer’s sun—
or swelter, as those summers come to mind,
beneath those skies that arced in brilliance,
beneath that sun that burned our darkened skins—
and in that land where you and I were born.

******

How close and distant were the father, son—
how rare and dear the tears that you and I
had wept, across the years and continents.

By culture, I was bred for reverence—
and more for elders than for all the gods.

But here I sit and weep, in quietude,
with little children’s voices wafting by,
remembering you, who once was little too—
and flew your kite, beneath that tropic sun.
 
******

How many children cry for parents lost,
how many parents for their children gone—
how many for a sibling or a friend,
or elder, younger—who is now no more…

So little time for joy—or even grief,
amidst the hustle of the city’s streets,
amidst the passage of a harried life…

How precious then, this time at summer’s start—
to pause and find the time to think of you.

2017 June 22, Thursday, 4:31 pm
playground, Public School 186
between 76th and 77th Streets, off 16th Avenue
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York 
  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Time is Money?


Time is Money?

Time is more than money, friends,
although you won’t believe us.
We live where time and money are
equated.  It’s atrocious.

Time was there, when money wasn’t.
Time will be, when money isn’t.
Haughty lord or humble peasant—
time is what made living pleasant.

Time is what we lost, as we
exchanged it for the coins that clink.
We’ve lost the time for elders, kids,
for leisure—and to sit and think.

We once had time, in part or plenty—
time for joy and time for grief.
But now we’re robbed of all. I’m asking,
“Who, of time, has been the thief?”

Men are harried and distracted.
Women’s lots are even worse.
Children cannot pay attention.
Yet I sit and type my verse.

When we focus on the present,
past and future fall away.
Time is there, and yet it isn’t,
be it night or be it day.

Should we hurry sex or eating?
Can we speed up love and care?
When the mantra is “efficient”,
who, to pause and see, can dare?

All of art and much of science,
all of nurture, learning, teaching,
all of wisdom—these are timeless,
born from disregard of clocks.

Surely time, like space, has function.
But time and space will still be there,
when you and I are vanished, mortals!
Time and space, we all could share.

But time, like other things, is now
a source of profit.  It’s a factor
that’s essential.  Watch your timing!
Otherwise, you’re not an actor.

See the worker, who must watch
the ticking clock—because the boss
is watching, there are deadlines and
to fuss—delay—entails a loss.

See the businessman, who strives
to squeeze, from out of time, his cash.
No time remains to pause, reflect
on things that don’t affect his stash.

See the parent, with her bills.
working hard, to feed her kids—
and so much more.  No time for her
to stop—or she’ll be on the skids.

In places, it’s the poor who race.
The middle class can take it slow.
In other places, burghers run—
or they’ll be middle class no more.

Run, run, run!  Run, run, run!
Run, run, run—and don’t ask why.
Run, run, run!  And run some more!
Run, run, run—till you drop and die.

No use for you, if you don’t produce
and don’t consume and pay your taxes—
unless you’re Donald Trump.  He hires,
and when your time is up, he axes.

“You’re fired!”  Now, you might survive
or not.  It seems it matters little.
“Go find a job, you useless bum!
Or you’re the wood we’ll have to whittle.”

Jobs and business, bosses, profits,
bills to pay and loans and rent—
these are now our lords and masters.
With amusements, we’re content.

Time is money.  Money's all.
Who has time to pause and question,
"Why this racing?  Who is gaining?
Where's the truth and where's the fiction?"

2017 June 18th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York 
----------------------------------------------------
 
Related:  Hop  (a shorter poem, for reading out aloud)
http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2015/04/hop.html  

   

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dawn and Dusk-III


Dawn and Dusk-III 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155498300923777

At dawn, we’re born; at dusk, we die.
And this repeats—we know not why.

As night bears day, so day bears night.
The darkness yields in time to light,
And light in turn gives way to dark,
As dawn and dusk, these turnings mark.

And see—the hues that arc on high,
As birth and death ignite the sky.

How sad, the dusk!  How hopeful, dawn!
It spins—this planet that we're on.
It spins—and yet it seems to pause,
As dawn and dusk suspend its laws.

It’s morning, then it’s noon and then
It’s afternoon and eve again...

******
   
So seasons come and seasons go—
In age, with speed; in childhood, slow.

And so it is with living things.
Of life and death, the poet sings.
And each of these, she wonders on,
When gazing up, at dusk and dawn.

The winter brings its cold and snow—
And yields to spring, when flowers blow.

How long, it seems, in warmer lands,
The summer lasts!  One understands,
With age, that all is passing, so
One bears the pain and pleasure more.

Our autumns come, with scents of musk.
We rose with dawn; we ebb with dusk.
  
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155498300923777
  
2017 June 13th, Tue (first four stanzas)
June 14th, Wed (last six stanzas)

Brooklyn, New York
-----------------------------------------------------
  
Two related poems, from 2006:
 

-----------------------------------------------------
    
More related poems, from 2014 and 2015: 
  
  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Walls of Sin

 
The Walls of Sin

I can weave my words in verses.
I can try to write in prose.
But until I see some action,
I will never find repose.

My words may lull my readers, 
Or wake them up from sleep,
But until the deeds have followed,
Their impact can’t be deep—

For words are far too easy,
And deeds are often hard.
For every verse I fashion,
I find a broken shard.

It tells of visions shattered,
It speaks of things undone.
How many are the losses
For every battle won? 
   
Our spans are so uncertain—
Except in that they end.
We seek some satisfaction—
Before we are at end.

What action do I look for?
Should it be yours or mine?
It’s an ebbing, of the madness,
That might need a grace divine.

But no god will come to aid us
And no leader, heaven-sent.
We can wait for gods forever.
We can follow—and repent.

I am looking for the vision
That can see the trap we’re in.
I am waiting for the action
From the heart that’s cleansed of sin.

For long, a tide’s been rising
That brings us more of lies.
We can work towards its turning,
But only if we’re wise.

We are busy with our duties
Or sundry pleasures, so
We limit heart and vision—
And query, even more.


Can truth be gleaned from fiction,
Or virtue born from vice?
Can warmth be found in beings,
Whose hearts have turned to ice?

If we see the faults of others
But not our own, we sink
Towards a dark suspicion
That stems from how we think.

If we note the act of evil
But not the ones of good,
We feed the fire within us
With more of kindling wood.

The anger and the hatred
Can burn away the soul.
Could Yeshua or Gotama
Make such a being whole?

   
We sicken from the slaughter.
We hide our hearts away.
So darkness is ascendant.
What hope remains for day?


But see, the ones who're shielded
From mayhem and from worse
They too have lost their senses,
And they can't be cured by verse.
  

When people cease from hearing,
A deafness then prevails.
The orphans may be screaming,
But all their pleading fails.

When people cease from seeing,
Then blindness is their fate.
What end is there to hatred,
Except in more of hate?
 
We need a gentle cleansing
Of body and of mind.
We need to turn from hating
To relearning to be kind.

Towards the ones we care for,
We might be soft and kind.
But what about the others—
That we’ve put out of mind?

We can’t be saints or angels,
But should we yield to rage
That blinds us to the spirals
That churn through every age?

Should we close our eyes to madness,
Be cocooned, within our nest?
Should we tend to duties, pleasures—
And wave away the rest?

Do first, that which is local.
But then, look up and see
What's past and what is distant
And how they came to be.

The future is created
By what we now will do.
And all the past is present
In thought
and feeling too.

Can a being, who’s conditioned,
Be free of habit’s snare?
If we’re driven by the madness,
Can we learn again to care?
 
We are trained, from when we’re children,
By the candy and the stick.
So we grow up to be zombies
And we make each other sick.

But as those who are discerning
Grow in number, it will turn—
This tide that has been rising—
This fire, in which we burn.

Can we find an end to conflicts,
When we’re not at peace within?
Can we see the pain of others,
When we’re blinded by our sin?

It is feeling that will free us,
But not what is expected.
It’s the heart that is within us,
Whose call we have neglected.

It is thinking that will lead us,
But not the thoughts implanted.
It’s the sense, that was within us,
That the nonsense has supplanted.

It is action that will heal us,
But not the kind we praise.
It’s the action of refraining
From running through the maze.

This maze is our creation.
It’s the prison we have made.
When we cease from blindly racing,
The walls of sin will fade.

Observe your own reaction
That traps you even more.
Inhale, and see it rising.
Exhale, and let it go.

When the cattle are stampeding,
The one who pauses dies.
So also truth can perish,
When all around are lies.

But when there is a slowing,
Proceeding one by one,
Then truth is heard and spoken,
And sanity has won.

2017 May 31, Wed.
(parts in blue added 2017 June 4th, Sun.)
Brooklyn, New York 

Monday, May 29, 2017

We’ll Blast You Straight to Hell!

 
We’ll Blast You Straight to Hell!

This is our god, the only god!
The other gods are false!
And if you would deny this, why,
We’ll rid you of your balls!

This is our prophet, the best and last!
No others are permitted!
And if you would say otherwise,
To hell, you’ll be remitted.
 
This is the truth, the only truth!
And everything else is lies!
It answers whats, it answers hows,
It even answers whys!
 
This is the way, the only way!
The others lead to hell!
We use these exclamation points,
For we still have stuff to sell!

There’s up and down! And we are up
And you are down below!
So toil, you slaves! And don’t complain!
Your kind deserves no more!

******

This is our race, the master race!
The others must bow low!
And those that have corrupted this—
Our purity—must go!

We are the ones who’re chosen. God
Has led us through the ages!
We’ve suffered!  Now, we own the world—
And smile, as havoc rages!

This is our creed, the greatest creed,
And everything else is shit!
And if you would say otherwise,
You must be poor of wit!

But see!  Ha ha! You now are lost!
You’ve all been led astray!
There is no truth, there is no god!
There never was a way—

Except the way that money talks,
And that’s the way we sell!
And if we find you’re in our way,
We’ll blast you straight to hell!

2017 May 28th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York
 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Layers


Layers

There are layers of the truth that lie
atop each other—or are intermixed.
And only if we start to dig, will we
discover this, and learn to know the lie
and recognize the half-truth that parades
as all of truth, which is obscured by it.

The truth could be unpleasant and upset
beliefs we’ve held as true for many years.
We might then have to modify our “truths”
to fit with what our digging has unearthed.
As long as others do the same, our own
experiences will also have their place.

We peel the onion and our tears begin.
There’s only so much that our eyes can take.
We wash the onion, cut it, cover up
the pieces, wash our eyes and then
begin to sauté onion, garlic, seeds…
We know our pain and labor lead to feasts.

2017 May 9th, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York
   

Saturday, May 6, 2017

In Debt and in Surfeit


In Debt and in Surfeit

How troubled are our lives—and needlessly!
Our tribulations are engendered by
our own entrapment in the webs we weave.

How meager are the needs that must be met
so we may live, with freedom from distress.
The air we breathe is free—and so should be
the water that we drink.  We each can feast
a fortnight, just on rations carried on our backs.
We also need, in climates of extremes,
some shelter from the elements—and none
of us can live for long in icy cold,
without the clothes and heat that we require.
No primates ventured near the frozen realms,
except the ones who stitched and tended fires.

But that is all we really need—except
ourselves and those that give us company.
And in this last necessity, we find
a richness and a solace that had served
us well, providing culture, memory
that passed through generations—woven strands
that still endure—although we now retreat
to hermit cells, preferring to subsist
on those connections more in our control,
so keeping humans off at distances,
while drowning still in debt and in surfeit.

Till yesterday, we lived as foragers,
content and fully human—that, which we
are now no more, except in vestiges.

2017 May 5th, Fri, 6:10 pm
Milestone Park, Bensonhurst
Brooklyn, New York 
  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Myth


Myth

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154582087620950

Who knows the truth?
Not I, forsooth!

I'll vouch for what I've witnessed, yet
In time I'll age and I'll forget.
I only might be sure of this—
That mortal life is far from bliss!

I cannot tell, although I care,
What happened when I wasn't there.
And though I've delved and though I've read,
I cannot question those who're dead!

And when I go, so goes my truth—
Unless it finds, in others, root.
But I could notice, while I die,
My truth, transforming to a lie!

We reach the pith—
And find it's myth.

2017 April 26th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York
   

Quartz and Calcite


Quartz and Calcite 

https://www.facebook.com/dan.nave.1/posts/10208821879645289

Quartz and Calcite waged a battle.
For Quartz declared, "I know I'm brittle.
But I can scratch you. There, I've done it!"
Calcite roared, "You'd better stop it!"

But easier started, harder stopped,
Their battle lasted, till they dropped.
And Quartz had only lost a shard
Or two, for Quartz's core was hard.

But Calcite, felled by strike and thrust,
Was shattered—scattered into dust.
And from that medley, rose the cry,
"From Quartz's mischief, now I die!"

2017 April 27th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York
  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fragments

   
Fragments

We age and then, in time, we die.
And yet, although we might despair,
We hold to truth, refute the lie,
And try to mend what needs repair.

We're humbled by the blows of time,
And all our hopes are dashed in turn.
And yet, we breathe, and persevere.
While life remains, our candles burn.

Who knows the truth, except the gods?
And surely they are blinded too.
We hold our fragments to the light,
For that is all we each can do.

2017 April 24th, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York
 


Ashes


Ashes

https://www.facebook.com/D.V.Ahluwalia/posts/913650452108809

The history of humans, friend,
Is a greatly tangled web.
We know about it next to naught,
Although we might pretend.

The Vedas only came to be
A moment back in time.
So Abraham was born in Ur
And Egypt rose sublime.

A hundred thousand years have passed,
Since humans left that land
In which we branched away from apes,
Or so we understand.

The Abrahamic faiths insist
The gods are none but one,
And all of Earth was made for Man,
By him who made the sun.

Our Aryas worshiped dewas, while
Ahuras ruled in Fars.
And so, "divine" and "devil"—these
Are siblings joined in farce.

Segregation, apartheid,
The lasting sin of varnas
These all have failed to separate
Arjuna's kind from Karna's.

There is no superior race or god,
Or way of earning wealth,
And each such thought has wrought its dread,
In open or in stealth.

Each thing we make, which promises
To make our burdens light,
Is turned, by those who need their slaves,
To rob us of our sight.

So agriculture was and now
The labors hard of science.
So all is turned to ashes, friend,
On which we put reliance.

2017 April 24th, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York
    

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mayar Dha~dha-মায়ার ধাঁধা-The Maze of Delusion

 
The truth is that every empire, nation, community, family and individual is capable of great cruelty, as also of great kindness. This has been demonstrated over and over again, and we are seeing it being demonstrated now, all over the world. We still need to speak out and act against the cruelty and to recognize and support the kindness.

However, those who see and feel beyond a narrowing of vision and of heart are always vilified. Those who work for the common good and against scapegoating, demonizing and division are inevitably labeled as foreign agents, traitors, etc. Sadly, it is the same in every country, in every age.

https://www.facebook.com/madhusree.mukerjee/posts/1488465891211160

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154561847215950

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.wickham.52/posts/10156083779321562 

-------------------------------------------------------------

There are four sections of verse below:

-------------------------------------------------------------

মায়ার ধাঁধা

আর্য় বলে, ‘ভজ তাদের,
যাদের চামড়া গোরা৷’
এ দেশী বলে, ‘বিদেশী, তুমি
সব মন্দের গোড়া৷’

ওগো মূর্খ, গোণো এবার
পুরোনো পাপের আয়৷
বিরাট পাপী, রাজা হয়ে,
রক্ত চুষে খায়৷

******

কত যে দুঃখ, কত যে কষ্ট,
মায়ার ধাঁধায় পড়ে!
নিজেকে মেরেছ,  নিজেকে নষ্ট
করেছ যুগযুগ ধরে৷

ফিরে চাইলে,  দেখবে সব ই
অকারণে করা৷
এত সৃষ্টির স্বত্ত্বেও, শুধু
বৃথা ভুগে ভুগে মরা৷

শনিবার, ২২ এপ্রিল, ২০১৭ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
-------------------------------------------------------------

Māẏāra Dhām̐dhā

Ārẏa balē, 'Bhaja tādēra,
yādēra cāmaṛā gōrā'.
Ē dēśī balē, 'Bidēśī, tumi
saba mandēra gōṛā'.

Ōgō mūrkha, gōṇō ēbāra
purōnō pāpēra āẏa.
Birāṭa pāpī, rājā haẏē,
rakta cuṣē khāẏa.

******

Kata yē duḥkha, kata yē kaṣṭa,
māẏāra dhām̐dhāẏa paṛē!
Nijēkē mērēcha, nijēkē naṣṭa
karēcha yugayuga dharē.

Phirē cā'ilē, dēkhabē saba i
akāraṇē karā.
Ēta sr̥ṣṭira sbattbē'ō, śudhu
br̥thā bhugē bhugē marā.

Śanibāra, 22 Ēprila, 2017 Khri
Bruklina, Ni'uẏarka
-------------------------------------------------------------

Mayar Dha~dha

Arjo bo`le, “Bho`jo tader,
jader camr’a gora.”
E dexi bo`le, “Bidexi, tumi
xo`b monder gor’a.”

Ogo murkho, gon’o ebar
purono paper ae.
Birat’ papi, raja hoe,
ro`kto cuxe khae.

******

Ko`to je dukkho, jo`to je ko`xt’o,
mayar dha~dhae por’e!
Nijeke merecho, nijeke no`xt’o
korecho jugjug dhore.

Phire caile, dekhbe xo`b i
okaron’e ko`ra.
E`to srixt’ir xottheo, xudhu
britha bhuge bhuge mo`ra.

Xonibar, 22e Epril, 2017 Khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk
-------------------------------------------------------------

The Maze of Delusion

The Arya made us understand
the curse of darker skin.
The patriot “knows” the foreign hand
is planting more of sin.

Oh foolish folk, now sit and count
the wages of your acts.
The greatest sinner now can mount
the throne and tout his “facts”.

******

How much of woe, how much of pain,
from racing through the maze!
We’ve injured self and soul again,
while caught in maya’s daze.

On looking back, we see that all
was done for no good reason.
So deep, this hole in which we fall
yet deeper, every season!

2017, April 22nd, Sat.
(translated May 12th, Sat.)
Brooklyn, New York
-------------------------------------------------------------
 
https://www.facebook.com/madhusree.mukerjee/posts/1488465891211160 

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154561847215950

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.wickham.52/posts/10156083779321562

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Pale Blue Dot

 
The Pale Blue Dot

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/videos/10154567820250950/

What indeed is poetry?
I really wish I knew,
Although I spout again in verse
Which often seems to veer from terse.

And Riaz earlier was wise
In saying there's a difference--
For I can persevere in meters
Or echo rhymes, as poetry peters.

And as for science, what is it?
Our Trump would say, "A lot of s**t!"
Unless it adds in cash for him,
Who grabs at p******s at his whim.

And we might say, "What's wrong with money,
Or sipping on a bit of honey?"
But others then might counter, "Naught!
But yet there's more than can be bought."

What cash can come from Andromeda,
What pleasure from a comet's tail?
And yet we might be more bereft,
If Carl were mute before he left.

For though he spoke in measured prose,
It's poetry that Sagan wove.
As Saumen too has said, it's wonder
That gives, to poets’ words, their thunder.
 
2017 April 21, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York
   

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Winter Has Ended


The Winter Has Ended

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212660965296741

We know that we're transient.
We come and we go.
But we sense there's a stillness
in the midst of the flow.

There's a light in the gemstone,
there's a star in the eye.
We'll remember that twinkle
till the day that we die.

The song that is ancient
is tinged with a sorrow,
and yet it is saying
"There is still a tomorrow."

The song that is recent
may bring joy to the heart.
And yet there's the whisper—
"Tomorrow we part."

How brief are the colors
and scents of the spring!
But the winter has ended
and our fancies take wing.

2017 April 17th, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York
    

At the Start of the Spring


This was written after seeing a picture of Matt and Julie Posner, standing together, by a cherry blossom tree at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212660965296741 

-----------------------------------------------

At the Start of the Spring


When the schools were not open,
at the start of the spring,
we stood by the blossoms
and our fancies took wing.

How precious, these moments,
like blooms in their lives,
when the flowers have faded,
for husbands and wives.

So also for others,
who stood by the trees
or looked at the heavens
or gazed at the seas.

We arrive and we travel
and we exit in time.
And yet there are moments
that we treasure in rhyme.

For some, it is verses;
for others, it's prose.
Yet others remember
the scent of the rose.

There are feelings for which
we may find the right words
and others that shimmer
like the singing of birds.

And then there are things
that we sense, but that speech
cannot utter—the things
that our words cannot reach.

So we stand in the open
at the start of a season.
And a picture is taken
for which there's a reason.

And whether we knew it
or not, in a year
or in forty, we'll see it
with a smile and a tear.

2017 April 17th, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York
-----------------------------------------

  
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212660965296741  
   

Humans

 
Humans
 
https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154554801155950

We murder the children, we maim and we burn.
We follow the ones who give orders and funds.
And yet we lift strangers who're wounded and risk
our lives for the children who have nowhere to turn.

How hard are we humans, how cruel and mad!
How senseless our slaughters, how ruthless our drives!
But still, in the mayhem, we heal and we nurture.
We tend to that labor, no matter how sad.
 
2017 April 17th, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York
  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Contradictions-II


Contradictions-II 

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.wickham.52/posts/10156054098866562 

How strange are men and women! We
have humors mixed within.
And so by day we're sainted, yet
at night we're mired in sin.

******
 
My father was a gentle man.
He never raised his hand
against us, yet at times his acts
were hard to understand.

My mother was admired, beloved,
except by those sans heart.
And yet she made us suffer, though
without design or art.

My sister had a star within
that shone in all she did.
And yet, within the dark, too soon,
she bravely went and hid.

How strange indeed I am myself.
I've never carried malice.
But still, I've caused my troubles by
refraining from the chalice.

And so it is with everyone
and so it is with all.
We climb up to the shining peaks,
and then, in turn, we fall.

So those that seemed so pure, we learn,
are hardly free from taints.
And those we saw as sinners have,
at times, exceeded saints.

From contradictions, though we seek,
we rarely find release.
But now my rhymes grow tiring and
it's time for me to cease.
 
******
 
Within the yin, the yang resides;
within the yang, the yin.
So also, love and hate are twined,
and grace is tied to sin.

2017 April 16th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York
  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nutty


Nutty

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154547984390950

There are nuts all around us.
They're nutty as hell.
But till they start spouting,
you really can't tell.

If you doubt what I'm saying,
then just stick around.
When I'm finished, you'll holler
and run for high ground.

There are nuts that are tinies,
there are nuts that are bigs.
There are nuts that are crazies
that like to wear wigs.

But then are are nuts
that are nutty like me.
And those are the ones
you don't want to see.

For while I am mouthing,
you'll be wanting to yell.
But I still won't be finished,
until you're in hell.

2017 April 15th, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York

   

Friday, April 14, 2017

Light and Shade


Light and Shade 

https://www.facebook.com/wendell.pye/posts/1736121643081412

What can I add, except to say
We greet the dawn that starts the day,
But then, when sunset comes, we sigh,
For night, and all it means, is nigh.

We sigh in pleasure as in pain.
We grimace and we laugh again.
So sorrow too is part of life.
If joy's the husband, she's the wife.

And now before you tire of this,
I should retire and wish you bliss.
We suffer pain and wish we'd die,
And moan and ask for reasons why.

What reason can we find, my friend?
We suffer till the very end.
So let's embrace the joy and sorrow.
We live today and die tomorrow.

******
 
Pleasure, pain, we live and find,
Like yang and yin, are intertwined.
From light and shade, we find our depth—
From joy and sorrow, life and death.

To wooden crosses, three were nailed.
Such cruelties had long prevailed.
But one of those had brought us sight,
Or so we hope, who seek for light.

But then, behold how darkness spread,
And evil was, with cunning, wed.
And still their offspring brings us woe.
So who is friend and who is foe?

I wish I knew the answers, but
I am myself within a rut.
And so I now should go to sleep,
And hope it will be long and deep.

2017 April 14th, Thu, 3:08 am
Brooklyn, New York 
   

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Wrote Me a Song


I Wrote Me a Song

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154543106580950

I wrote me a song in a minute or ten.
I don't know the why and I don't know the when.
It came to my mind and it came to my pen,
And I wrote out those verses for women and men.

I wrote me a song in a minute or two.
She asked me to write it—I don't know who.
I wrote it for her and I wrote it for you.
I wrote it because that's just what I do.

Was there a reason for writing that song?
Did I wish to set right what was clearly so wrong?
You can pick your own reason, and argue it strong.
But I hadn't a reason. I just wrote me a song.

2017 April 13th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154543106580950



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Stories That We're Told


The Stories That We're Told

The stories that we're told omit
the most important things.
So we believe in devils and
in angels who have wings.

So Lucifer had fallen, since
he’d dared to irk the Lord
and Gabriel had smitten all
of Egypt with his sword.

But what is truth and what is myth,
in even things mundane,
depends on whether you're a Gaul,
a Roman or a Dane.

If Hindus were to follow what
Arjuna was advised,
whatever's left of principle
might then be compromised.

So also did Muhammad say
so many things, in turn,
that if we followed blindly, we
might all together burn.

But saying things like this will land
us quickly deep in trouble—
as also if we prick, by chance,
a nation's sainted bubble.

And most of all, if we attempt
to stand in Empire's way,
we'll each be told that we are mad
and then be hauled away.

2017 April 11th, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York
  
https://www.facebook.com/arjun.janah/posts/10154534985165950 
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Murkho Manux-মূর্খ মানুষ-We Foolish Men


This post consists of the following, in descending vertical order:

  • four lines in Bengali (মূর্খ মানুষ)
  • a Roman transcription (Mūrkha Mānuṣa) from http://translate.google.com;
  • a voice recording of the Bengali;*
  • a Roman transcription (Murkho Manux) as described at Bharot Xadhin;
  • an English translation (We Foolish Men).
------------------------------------------------

* A reasonable, prosaic voicing can now also be heard by:

  • copying and pasting the Bengali-script text into the left panel at the Google link given above (after selecting Bengali as the input language);
  • and then clicking on the speaker icon below that left panel.
------------------------------------------------

মূর্খ মানুষ 

হায় ভগবান, হায় আল্লাহ, 
হায় গৌতম, চৈতন্য!
মূর্খ মানুষ হয়েছে পাগল, 
নিজেকে করেছে অন্য৷

মঙ্গলবার, ৪ঠা মার্চ, ২০১৭ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
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Mūrkha Mānuṣa

Hāẏa bhagabāna, hāẏa āllāha,
hāẏa gautama, caitan'ya!
Mūrkha mānuṣa haẏēchē pāgala,
nijēkē karēchē an'ya.

Maṅgalabāra, 4ṭhā Mārca, 2017 Khri
Bruklina, Ni'uẏarka
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Murkho Manux

Hae bho'goban, hae alla,
Hae goutom, coitonno!
Murkho manux hoeche pagol,
Nijeke koreche onno.

Mongolbar, 4t’ha Marc, 2017 Khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk
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We Foolish Men

Oh god, with all your many names,
Oh dear, departed brothers!
We foolish men have lost our minds,
And see ourselves as others.

2017 April 4th, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York