Love! you dealt a bitter blow –You lay me cross the mortal plains,Bedewed, bedimmed amongst a show
Of tearful clouds of eternal rains.
wounded from the breast down
Red Cross crying from above
reach out for your flailing sacrament
and find only rivers and streams,
flowing divergent from your heart.
the hospice cannot save you from
the clutches of blinding light,
as the doctors who cut off life support
fail to find the wound
in your hands lie
all you ever hoped for, screaming. dying.
run away stop crying stop feeling
but as you lay, their bullets pass
over you in retreat.
the soft wind caresses your face
as the final tomb closes outward,
escaping your lips are final words
nobody will ever hear.
The last few passengers hopped on catching their breaths with a huff and a puff and taking the remaining seats where they could, while handling their bags in one hand and their mufflers and hats with the other. It was just an ordinary day for them. A day when work and reaching their office on time was the only thing they could think about. A day when half their time on the launch was spent worrying if the Tiffin box packed so lovingly by their wives toppled over to create a mess. A day when they couldn't stop and stare. A day when materialism came before appreciating nature’s beauty.
Kolkata woke up one fine chilly morning to a sky set ablaze. There was always something about Kolkata and its lights that intrigued me. The perfection with which every corner was lit just as much as it should be, the hidden eye candy which could only be seen if you look into your soul to appreciate. Worshipers from all over flocked to the ghats to offer their prayers. And with the mindless honking of the city behind them and the open river in front, they dipped themselves in continuously to be forgiven of their sins. As they lifted their folded hands above their heads to pray and dipped themselves, they made the water all around them make huge ripples which were lost in the vastness of the mighty river. And with that, they were forgiven of their wrong doings, or at least that’s what they believed.
The engines roared to life as one of the crew, miserably opened the ropes and threw them on board after ringing a bell. I stood in one corner of the launch eyeing Kolkata, taking every bit of it in - its morning awakening, its old red bricked buildings, or at least the ones which still stood straight, its ghats green with moss and over crowded with devotees, its icy cold winter morning, and the current of the river beneath the launch floor. Kolkata had woken up to one of the coldest days in recent history. 9 degrees and the wind was up. On the Ganga it felt as if I had come away to some faraway land, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to find peace. Silence surrounded me and the only sound faintly audible was the low whistle of the breeze brushing past my cheeks kissing them which felt like tiny needles poking me all at once.
The water looked like liquid glass, floating away to infinity and beyond, as far as my eyes took my vision. As the launch turned to face its destination the Howrah Bridge came into view. Standing tall with its two gigantic pillars the sun peeped from between the cables to shine on the water creating a river of gold while the sun’s reflection seemed a ball of fire just within our reach. The bridge cast huge shadows causing a sudden darkness to arise in the water which otherwise seemed ablaze.
Across the river the world waiting for me felt distant. Was civilization actually that beautiful? Or did nature just wrap its covers around to hide the flaws of mankind, his ruthlessness, his ignorance towards other beings and its lack of humanity? The dashes of green popped out of the corners of towering buildings, as sun cast its golden rays on them creating shadows on the opposite side.
The small boats sailed on as the launch took me from bank to bank. The rowers sat at the back on the edge with their rows half immersed in the water. And as the currents made them flow by, the ripples came and hit our launch and travelled back into the vastness and disappeared. They sailed through the disturbed water, and its shadows sailed alongside. The rivers serenity was contrasted with the blobs of weed floating by, entangled with driftwood and mixed with shiny cloths, probably the leftovers of the previous durga puja celebrations.
The sky was a game of colors by now. The sun, still a ball of fire, was slowly creeping upwards, the light grey clouds just behind it shot rays of gold down through the gaps they found on the world below, the sky otherwise was a play of grey, blue, red and orange set in order from the ground upwards without a definite point of distinction. A group of three birds, crows most probably, flew overhead enjoying the sun’s late arrival to the cold morning.
My hands reached for the railing. I gripped the rods tightly looking for security. I looked around me to spot the different lives sailing with me. Some on their phones, some sat with their eyes glued to the cold blank floor, as if they didn’t deserve to be uplifted by nature’s display of her beauty, some staring down at their watches to scrutinize each second to realize how late there were while others stood with a blank expression staring out onto the river, probably going over what they did wrong, playing the images on repeat, making themselves miserable. Me? I stood leaning on the railing looking out also. But I wasn’t in my misery. My misery was behind me. I looked forward to life. And for now I looked forward to my destination. And amongst the crowd I was alone. This was my moment and mine alone. No one could have robbed me of this moment, and no one can make me forget.
The river gave me peace of mind. Its tranquility and its continuity made an energy of constancy flow within me. A belief that this too shall pass, that every moment shall pass. Never ending was its path. A path which life had chosen. Who are we to disrupt it? Who are we to stop? Life flowed on. And times were not always smooth sailing. There will be waves rocking you, making you lose your balance, there will be rocks at the bottom, sometimes holding you together while other times damaging your base. With time and distance the river will get polluted, but it all depends on what you want to show and what you choose to see. It will be used, to its maximum capacity, with only a handful of souls to stop and think about it and do something about it to the best of their abilities. Things varying in all sizes will cross it, sail by without paying any heed to the water beneath it making them sail smoothly, never appreciating it, and soon it becomes a part of them which they pay no attention to it. It will always be there though. Its existence will always prevail over it being ignored. And when you stop to think, it’ll be there pushing you along the way, to your destination, where you will have to say goodbye to the picture perfect moments, the soul touching feelings and the voice within you which screams in its silence to set yourself free.
Will I hear you again?
Or even see you open your eyes?
If only I could have one last chance
I wouldn't change anything
Except make it easier on Mom
She took her ring off Dad
Left it by her pain killers
You tried your best, it wasn't good enough
Things have finally wrapped up
Just like you are this very moment
Seeing you in a casket,
Wrapping my still young hands around your fist
Tears staining your new dress shirt
Speaking for the dead, listening to the alive
Searching for the memory
Of the Concrete Cross
Reading the numbers of your hospital room
All of it a mixed memory,
I'll miss you Dad
I guess I'm supposed to say:
I love you
But I'll walk through the Church doors
My last words to you were
Summer, now just a ball of ruined treasures hanging above me
Thinking of 3 lonely months with nothing to keep me occupied.
Thinking.. Thinking way too much. No more thinking.
As I sit here, alone in this room
You're body shutting down, calling it quits
My disbelief, anger, it all gets hidden.
I just sit and helplessly stare.
The clock hanging just above the door
It counts out time, every tick and tock
Signals one less breath you'll take as you limply lay there
One less chance for you to smile and be okay.
Everyone's saying you're too far gone already
Mom's willing to pull the plug
Seeing the bandages swallow all of you
Hiding your Irish, brutal skin
If only you hadn't drove home
And set your hands on your knees, instead of the wheel
Swerving, colliding, killing, dying
Dad, you stole someone's life from them
Soon, you'll be leaving us behind, I can see it in the I.V.'s
Forcing us to live as, "That drunkards kids"
I find it funny how one thing can push you clear off the edge
Destroying a life and yet you still have yours, it's unfair
Funny how when you're falling,
You screw everything up.
Even though you're already gone.
Daddy, why did you do it?
Your standing at a cross roads
And you dont no which way to go
To the left is a road you've never known
To the right is the life youve lived and grown
As the rain pours down along your face
Your confused on which choice to make
Your scared of change and risk
You always belive youll fail the test
Even though your stronger than most
You dont belive you have anythin to boast
A predictiable stable life is what you want,
Descions and stress give you haunt
A fulfiled life is all you want,
My Wandering woman just follow your heart,
Dont worry what others think, its about what you want
Let nature be your guide and show you the way,
Choose a path and dont ever stray
Follow the sun the moon and stars,
Theyll always stay bright for you,
Just look to the sky whenever your blue,
Take a deep breathe and let it all flow out,
Before you make a descions no matter what about,
While your at the crossroads wanderer,
Always remember not to ponder,
Follow your gut and nothin but,
Dont let outside fears take control,
Your demons are no match for your heart,
Even though they may never let go,
Fight through them all with courage and wit,
Think on your toes and never sit,
Youll get through this wandering woman,
Never doubt what you are doing.
Never let your smile go dim,
It will brighten up any room,
Keep your eyes open wide
They are as blue as the sky,
Tread your gorgous soul onward dear,
There is nothing for you to fear.
As you stand at the crossroads before you
Remember these words i said to you,
If you choose the road you dont know
Or the one that youve grown accustom too
Just make sure that youll be happy first,
Happiness is your primary first.
Everything else can wait,
And i myself can always wait,
Ill wait until your seas have calmed,
Until it is safe to climb a shore,
Until your storm has subsided,
And you can no longer deny it.
Never the less ill always be by your side,
And for you ill hang up my pride.
You'll always have a place in my heart,
You always have right from the start.
How many times
Have you driven by
A cross on the side of the road?
How many times
Have you wondered why
God had to take their life?
How many times
Have you thought of their stories?
Of who they left in mourning?
Have you ever wondered
Where they were going?
Have you ever wondered
What they thought of
In their last moment?
Were they lonely?
Were they loved?
Are they down below or up above?
Have you ever noticed?
Those flowers beside the cross?
Have you ever noticed
How many broken hopes and dreams
Are nestled in those leaves?
How many times
Has it ever crossed your mind-
That worn-out cross
And shriveling rose
Could be resting there for you.
We were just boys. Trekking into the dense wood, we hadn't a care in the world. The rain began to fall. Softly at first. Our youthful tongues reached out and caught the delicate drops. The rain fell harder - so hard it began to tear at our skin. The air became still. The sounds of the forest ceased. All was crystallized. Then Hell struck. Out of the sky, a brilliant bolt of lightning hit the tall elm to the right of us. We all cowered in terror, knowing full well we needed to take cover, but there was none to be found. The sound was unbearable. Trees exploded to the right and left of us, all accompanied with a ghostly white that enveloped everything around it. I could hear Paul crying and I ran over to him. I grabbed him by the shoulder so that we could take cover next to a large boulder. We'd almost reached it when we were hit. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes I felt a pain my young life had never experienced. My shoes flew free as I was forced into a massive tree trunk. My ears were ringing and dripping with blood. I hurt everywhere. Dazed, I ran over to Paul. He was on the ground. He was convulsing and vomiting. Not a regular vomit. His insides were escaping from his mouth. Blackened whole pieces of lung flowed forth, steaming in the rain. He became still and his skin turned a bluish hue. It didn't even cross my mind that he would die. I was only fourteen.
I do not dream,
Across the Saltstraumen Maelstrom,
And through Orion's Gates
I seek tribute and treasures,
Yet only those few things
That enrich my soul
Do I ever take.
I ford rivers
And cross streams,
I climb chambered walls
In search of my prize.
I weary deserts,
And explore valleys
Yet unseen by
I hunger for what has
Not been forged.
I fight battles
That should be won.
I dare the struggle
Of the unknown,
And an adventure we
Have yet begun.
Still, your lack of vision
Holds you back,
When you ought,
In your strength,
Your fear of the unknown
Keeps you bound
In chains no mere man
Can tear down.
I do not dream,
Into that which I
Do not know.
For man needs to
Shake loose his chains,
Or he will never grow.
Copyright © 2009 Richard D. Remler
"The doors we open and close each day decide
the lives we live."
An empty battlefield lies before me,
Still as the dead sea.
In full armor, you stand unmoving,
Straight across from me.
Look at this bloodbath you’ve created.
Do you see the puddles of red?
I stare at all these teardrops
That formed from words you said.
I’m slouching from exhaustion.
You look tired, as well,
And staring at this dark red sky
Feels like my own hell.
We both know the fight was over
Before we even had the chance to start.
And yet, the ground is covered in red,
As are the remnants of my heart.
Please don’t try to cross this field.
Leave everything where it is now.
I’d rather walk away from this mess
Than try to fix it, somehow…
I’ll never look in your eyes again.
They are too green and blue to see.
Looking around at this red disaster,
You’ve become a monster to me.