I've drawn down the curtains
on the window of the past
shadows will no longer linger
in my life--- now that I place all my trust
in being oblivious to all scenes of old
people I met, hurts I suffered, pain endured---let all of this rust
away in my new-found freedom
I can escape from self-inflicted sorrow only if I don't live in the past.
This is the road we must part
there's no need to say goodbye
neither you nor I
This is the road we must part
there should be no regret
our past we will forget
This is the road we must part
never again to dream
love was not what it did seem
This is the road we must part
our hearts have reasons we don't know
let nothing be said--let things be so
This is the road we must part
only this we need to know
all love is sorrow
This is the road we must part
here never again shall we pass by
just walk away silently---for love lost you should not cry.
(in parenthesis--you've not arrived)
waiting time this is
it's as though
time is arbitrarily suspended
no forward movement
until the journey is resumed
the hardest test
whoever you are-
it applies to all--
and you can't exit
the gate is closed to you
there's nothing you can do
a time for unwelcome reflection
what were you yesterday?
what did you used to be?
what would you be
after transit time?
you could grasp
that life is all about
being in transit
with you held in check
with untold possibilities
for change and acceptance
you would rise in triumph
from the ruins of your unhappy past-
a resurrected being
who has mastery over your life
and be thankful
for being kept in transit
who can wait
will be the victors
and will never regret
for being kept in transit.
once upon a time--remember?
but no more
now is our time--forever
tears we shed together
broken hearts once healed
re-love with the most resplendent grandeur.
My heart beat so wildly
as though I was to enter into battle
or to claim the prize of my life-
so eager and exhilarated
steeled in will
all my energies in fullest harness
casting all else aside
I promised myself
never to look back
now my hour had come
could be more glorious and triumphant
( my whole life depended on it)-
I' am arriving
the long-awaited arrival
the past is dead-
the moment came-
my heart all at once sank
I couldn't believe my eyes
it was a cruel blow-
to what I expected- so nasty-
shock was an under-statement
nay, the sharpest insult
and a hateful slap on my tired face
it was but a deserted outpost--
grey buildings falling apart
old papers and brown leaves
blown in the air
rusty and ugly machines and tools
bicycles with most parts missing
broken bottles and empty food-cans all over
books all torn and smeared
a maimed dog and a starving cat
sniffing over rotten fruits
and foul-smelling discarded food
watched by an indifferent black crow
on a bald tree by a puddle of stinking water
the inn bore the once-proud words-
'1865--best home for the tired traveller'
now no more than a shack-
history has spoken
almost with vengeance
a **** crowed from nowhere
the farm-gate had fallen on the muddy ground
the thirsty flowers bore dried appearances-
what a painful sight!
Is this a nightmare?
And I thought
this was the end of my journey
and I had come in triumph
to claim my coveted prize-
a new life
at the core of my being
as though to say:
' O, your dreamer
you are no more than a little child
who longs for toys to play with
in your loneliness and fancy
life is never a fairy-tale
your journey has not even started'.
flooded the whole sky
a storm was brewing
then the rain pelted
as though in anger
where could I hide
as there was nowhere
Dreams I'll collect
and I'll scatter them among the moon and stars
they will build a castle for our love high up
we'll have wings to fly in freedom without bars
Vows of love I'll collect
into the sweetest bouquet for you I'll weave
my poems I'll gather and with celestial perfumes sprinkle
only this I need to hear: 'My darling, your love with my whole heart I receive'
* inspired by a poem of Klaryssa a fellow-writer in HP
In the beginning was words and also at the end
in them we are consumed, scorched and burnt
in the between of love and hate, of sorrow and joy
words ruled all the way and life's most poignant lessons we learnt--
words become us
we are words and thus kept alive
in the beginning was words
and also at the end--there's no escape from such strife.
the common river
but each sails alone
with none other
so many regard as the sorrowful river
it flows to the endless sea
to its past it returns never
isn't it an unknown river?
every life is ****** upon it
'why'? one does wonder.
blessed if you find it a river
of splendour---harness then all your resources-
thus self-assured---you would never fall over.
All sailing boats
will at the end arrive at shore
patience and endurance
is the guiding wind--the storms will buffet no more.
Many a sea I have sailed
and shed every lonely tear
but I am a man larger than the sea
in my aloneness I conquered every single fear.
* inspired by a phrase I read
Maples in red and deep yellow
It's end of Australian autumn
Birds fly to warmer skies
Nights are sombre and solemn.
I look through the window
Waiting for your quick return--all I hear
Is but the faint rustling of leaves
And the wailing of the wind--where are you, my sweetest dear?
* inspired by Maple, a fellow-writer in HP
I always stay safe within the law
Would really be worried if outside the law
But that which tyrannises* and irks me most is this 'law'-
* sorry, my spelling was wrong when I posted--so I have amended
Enough, it's enough
too much I've said
there's lacuna in words
which often little light does shed--
how sweet and soothing
when silence does descend
its stills the mind and heart
over everything else it does transcend.
Poetry is a mirror of our soul but also a window to the outside world---that which is external and tangible--neither is complete without the other
but it's only the inner side of us that understands the deeper meaning of life and all things. It's strange but true---the intangible is mysterious, profound and has power and resources latent within us--most of which we aren't even aware---until kindled and brought to light by the muse of poetry. Then a clear light dawns upon us and we begin to see and understand things better. The 'physical we' is, in my view, of lesser significance than the 'abstract we' or should I say the 'essential we'?---that which can be seen, handled or articulated is only the periphery of truth and things but not the core--we are larger than what we think but we don't grasp this as we are lost in the banality and humdrum of daily life--we are walking shadows rather than light and fall short of our real potential. Talking of language and music, Felix Mendelssohn wrote (my paraphrase):
words mean less to me than music and it's music that speaks clearer to me.
All said, man is a mystery as life is but they intersect--at every point.
* inspired by Mary Winslow
This is the tapestry of my soul
sewed in sweat, trials and tears
each stitch a reminder of the vanished past when every episode
stood as a testament of life's most tempestuous years
but I've resurrected from the ruins
of time and every scene I survey now with serenity
even in the darkest of night
the brightest of light illuminates from my treasured tapestry.
* inspired by the preamble of Jane Taylor Hardy, a fellow-writer in HP--
many thanks, Jane
Every single pain
even in my deepest sorrow
I don't cry, not even heaving a sigh
In quietest acceptance
neither for solace nor relief I plead
pity I don't pour on myself
nor that of others' do I need.
I feel it
I think I am sure
I know nothing
at the end of things
nothing seems the same
the past in retrospect is but
vestiges of words and memories-
it seemed so real then
but is now shrouded in a cloud
in the most nebulous doubt
yes, I was there
that I don't deny
as I recollect in the present
I could never be sure
(who is sure about life
or the right or wrong of things?
and what is real or unreal?
Who can grasp life's unknowns and mysteries?)
Am I a walking dream?
Is life a mere illusion?
it's not about
to be or not to be
or being or non-being
that which I had acted upon
were deeds that had been done
and the past could never be undone
moments that expired
like rain once fallen
could not be recaptured
even if I were to repent
yet--there's none to judge me
but my own self--
why have remorse then?
we are shadows
we aren't real
(is reality but a hoax?)
All said and done
life is a lacuna
I am nothing
but a moment in time
and nothing do I know.
Genius is surrounded
the owner asks:
Should I be happy
or am I an object
by its weight
which is crushing me
I'm not free
no longer my old self--
dejected and unhappy-
even my friends are behaving strangely
no longer desiring my proximity
it's as though nothing of life's joys I could claim
by a force that I can't name
the voice within torments me
day and night
it wouldn't leave me even for a moment
and I've no place to hide:
' you're the chosen one
and there's no escape
from your duty-
the world is waiting
and this is the journey
you alone and you only
not just for your own sake
but the whole of humanity'
the greatest mystery
how tragic the lives of so many
as recorded by history.
Everyone praises to the sky high-tech
not me---the **** thing knows no tact--
a slight mistake you make
serious offence it does take
it gets into a rage--immediately-
it shuts you out--without mercy
you start to sweat, panic and say:
Dear High-Tech, show pity, don't go away
it's arrogant and relentless like none other
though you might be at the end of your tether
My mean boss Mr Farthing Cross comes along and does yell
why take so long--what the hell
are you doing? Do you want the sack, Mr Slow?
and how could I reply: my computer has given me a blow?
How could I not blame the Industrial Revolution
that has caused all this chaos without compunction?
Let me just say this: high-tech I detest
it would just cause everyone untold sorrow and unrest
and now comes Mr Cross
' You're sacked......'--well he's the boss!
You are so clever
which I'm never
you are street-smart
you excel in this art.
I've no wit
not even a tiny bit
got kicked out from school
my wife filed for divorce: 'Why did I marry this **** fool?'
* in response to a clever poem posted
Such a short but simple
and beautiful word---'We'
there would be endless peace and joy
all over---if we think we are all within the same human family
for where the 'I' no longer stultifies
the 'you' whom they and I accept so readily
where we laugh in joy or share one another's sorrow
we'll stand together in fraternity and harmony.
shout for joy
into their reckoning
an important guy
or why else
moment of triumph
and not a word
nor care to reply
in so doing
the truth is
are not to blame
who stoke the fire
and it's burning
in anxiety unabated
throw their hands
in the air
* the world is never free from ill-will and schadenfreude but there are some good and kind people around but sadly their number is small and shrinking fast. In a materialistic and competitive world, greed grows like weeds and is hard to eradicate. Its 'they' vs you.
Even the weakest among us
will somehow survive
strength even thin as a straw is not to be scoffed at
it builds up to a critical mass with time--- to strive
and not to yield transforms
the most ordinary men into heroes
though unknown they thrive
and stand up to life's loneliest sorrows--
the strong have been too complacent
self-indulgence has weakened their spirit
they struggle to hold their own but sadly
they have lost their vigour and wit--
man is not born to despair
whatever the adversity be
amidst the ruins and misery
he rebuilds and triumphs in his fullest nobility.
* Vladimir Nobokov: ...' perhaps the most admirable among the admirable laws of nature is the survival of the weakest'
I could find shelter anywhere
even in the cruellest weather
but the sanctuary of your heart
is closed to me and I wonder
why you regard me thus--
did I cause you grief ? Never
did I ever such intend
or have you found another?
If loving you is a sin
then call me the vilest sinner
how would I seek absolution?
I await your order.
This I'll say ere I walk away
You aren't getting any younger
I am desirable, strong, brave and kind
Once I've gone, you might regret forever.
but death I deny-
I'm still living
though hope is not in the offing
yet with every dawn
there's sweet unfolding meaning
as I've loved living
there's not a stint of sadness
in my soon-to-be departing
I've been listening
to Schubert's Das Tod Und Das Madchen#
death is a friend--a thought so comforting
my poetry is my life entire- -singing
to me is each line drawn from
my body-system which is failing
you my friends who brought me poetry books for reading
late into the night I kept awake
I'd been through Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth and Browning
yet more, the other poets remaining--
the true poet never gives in to weeping
his poems triumph over everything
you, my dear friends, now I'm biding
you good cheer, do promise you would go away smiling
knowing I've loved every moment of living.
* eminent Scottish poet (born 1898, died 1946 of TB). Also wrote DIARIES OF A DYING MAN (posthumously released in 1954) which inspired this poem of mine.
# Death And The Maiden, written in 1817 (Schubert died aged 31 in 1828,
a year after Beethoven). He was buried next to Beethoven at his request.
Last night I dreamt
I was a butterfly
light, so light
as I glided like a feather on high--
all around was an endless expanse
of flowers of all colours---I
could hear them say---' You are not dreaming'
( I woke up ---still desiring I could fly).
* conceived at 4 a.m. today when I was in between sleep
All of life is summarised by
just two words---wishing and wanting-
wouldn't life be a mistake
if we know not the ecstasy of loving?
and thus strengthened each of us walks
the earth like the most blessed being
our faith is renewed, our hearts are at rest
and enlightenment gives us all the joys of living.
We are the shorelines
watching the ebb and flow of the tides
every wavelet as it ceases reminds
us of life's transitoriness- only time abides---
the sea is gloriously beautiful
under the summer sky
but its splendour fades away
as winter in its sombre greyness draws nigh.
it needs no name
nothing else it seeks to claim
de nihil, nihil fit
from nothing, nothing comes
that which is empty
has nothing to give
to hold to its own
nothing can it receive
it is a law unto itself
and defines itself not
it does not even know
it is the mystery of mysteries.
The music of late autumn
is solemn, subdued and melancholic drifting
through silent trees and falling leaves
birds take to wings and cease their singing even before evening
while the moon and stars
seem weary and are trembling
how many hearts tonight are lonely and forlorn
in their secret yearning?
* autumn in Australia
I was the song you didn't sing
I was the heart you didn't know
I was the poem you never read
I was the love you let go.
I was the dream that you crushed
I was the voice you chose not to hear
I was the promise you frowned upon
I was the one you held to be least dear.
Serious verses often I write
but those I love most
are homely, gentle and light
of mothers feeding
of them each other kissing
of fathers toiling
in the family farm
bringing home the produce in the evening
of the blue sky shining
on every green field and garden
of flowers in blooming
of birds singing
on every bough
in the glorious morning
of the moon beaming
and the stars
of young lovers vowing
to be faithful and true
in their lives' sojourning
of the old reminiscing
their youth's most splendid moments
with hearts content in understanding
of laughter vibrating
when friends of old come together
good cheer sharing
As long as life around me is still encircling
my verses and songs shall still be resounding
life is to be embraced--that's the joy of living.
Open your heart to me
like the green meadow
waiting for the kiss of the sun
let our love glow
in every sweet ardour
come to me ere the sunset
ere the roses go to sleep
my vow I'll forever keep--how could I forget?
* inspired by the poem entitled MEADOW (Yen in Mandarin) by Lena S
a fellow-writer in HP
'Quit!'-- the most powerful word
I'll never let go-
sounds grandiosely onomatopoeic
( a word that never fails to stick)
the existing foundation
and order of things
listening and reckoning-
is held aghast and asks:
'Is this a sting
we hold sacred and dear?'
( why should the present masters fear
if of their own stand they stand sure?)
the bulwarks of the old
must give way to the new
(and what's that 'new' happening?--
those who are threatened are asking)
how glorious the word!
most triumphant !
of the current state of being
as it would not prostrate
before what it deems to demean
human morality or decency
it would not cow
to suppression or tyranny--
' Quit! if you want to be free!'
in my youthful days
' Quit!' swamped my mind
before those who controlled and bullied me
as I was poor and weak
with no recourse
to any safety nor sanctuary-
how they took delight to see
me at their mercy--
my misery made them happy
' My time shall come'
myself I did promise
through sweat and tears
I laboured waiting for the dawn
when I would shake off the yoke
of my unhappy years-
' Patience, patience, patience'
to myself a thousand times I said
' The time has not come, you must still wait
in more patience, yet more, more and more' --even in the dead
of night the word returns to haunt
weeks followed days, months followed weeks
years followed months, decades followed years
my struggle took three decades-
the price of freedom didn't come cheap
then came the crowning moment
and before the inquisitors I threw my gauntlet
looked into their fearful and perplexed eyes
and exclaimed : ' I QUIT!'
(the most senior of them fell from his seat!).
Quitters of the world
you have nothing to lose
but your chains!
* A true story
is it true?
what is not-
is it false?
is it better
than not to be?
Isn't not to be
than to be?
Is it better
or not to know?
Who is poor-
the rich unhappy?
isn't he who is poor, rich? being happy.
is it love?
what is not, is it not love?
is it life?
what is not, is it not life?
We step precariously as it were
on the most slippery floor
of verbiage--what do we really know?
* from Michel de Montaigne
There are tears
but of a different kind
not born of one's own suffering
but that which affects our heart and mind--
that ubiquitous sorrow with which so many are afflicted
helpless in suffering, deprivation, neglect, loneliness, fear and pain
(who dares stand up and proclaim:? This is the age of peace and plenty!'
it's the same political and business people's rhetoric---over and over again.
There's little hope or respite
wars darken the sky and soldiers fall
in daily battlefields
while leaders make their inhuman and infamous call
'To arms, to the glory of our nation
to the defence of our faith and ideology'
while on the roadside the innocent--young and old-
perish in cold and hunger-- who will shed the tears of our century?
The years glide on
not so much as a sound
like late-autumn leaves falling
on the waiting ground
the sorrows we met, the tears we shed
love watched with faith, in silence and never frowned
that which is beyond the pale of words
is infinitely more sublime and profound.
This is the age of tragedy
we are drowned
in the sea of technology-
nothing matters now--only
devices, gadgets, machines, contraptions
that claim: 'We'll make you happy'
This is the age of tragedy
blown over a thousand times Orwellian prophecy
none is free--everyone is subject to the minutest scrutiny
We regard ourselves smart--or supposedly-
but prostrate before that highest authority
faceless, feelingless, mute, the ubiquitous and iniquitous LED
This is our self-afflicted tragedy
in our proclamation: ' Progress, progress at any cost'--
we have lost our entire humanity
When you are in tears and your heart is heavy
help is on hand, you won't be lonely
just flick the switch, browse over Wiki.
Memory never dies
it lies in hibernation
it springs right before your eyes
triggered by the slightest incident or your imagination--
like a cinema film the past does unreel
with you as the only audience
it cares not about how you feel
it's as though on you the judge is passing his harshest sentence.
We say 'Wel-come' (such a nice word)
but never 'Wel--go'
(I've outsmarted Shakespeare)
this word even he didn't know.
Good-bye, adieu, farewell
words that seem so sombre and sad
'wel-go' has such a lovely ring and glow
it makes everyone glad.
Words, once spoken, die
in the void of the moment
like the interval
between two musical notes ---consequent
to the utterance, silence makes its appearance--
patient, omniscient and sublimely poignant.
People will see you
from their perspective
whatever you do or say
counts for little---the world
is all about perceptions
objectivity is left to sleep-
it suits the other person best-
prejudices abound, egos mislead
arrogance rules-even hatred raises its venomous head
respect for others? Congruence?
goodwill? universal peace?
nay--only cacophony and anarchy our there
and the last scene is like an apocalypse
when ideologies clash
and in the senseless and merciless battle fields
humans perish as in plagues of long ago
when reason and compassion are abandoned
and assigned to oblivion
where's mankind's hope?
I'm not just here or there
This, if you are patient to wait, you will know
I dwell within you and you in me--it's eternally so
I'm stillness, I'm motion
I'm land, I'm ocean
I'm the earth, I'm the sky
I'm low, I'm high
I'm The Invisible
I'm The Indivisible.
You have lost your freedom
Because in your blindness you chose serfdom
Reason is boring
The heart likes to dance and sing
Life is about living
Not about winning.
Which do you prefer
To be?---a leaf or a stone falling on the surface of the water?
Do not sing in the company
Of someone who is in misery.
This is the voice of The Sublime:
11 I can't save you from your pain
From your sufferings life's toughest lessons you might gain
Your wisdom means nothing to me
Your worth is in your piety
The strong should protect the weak
It's through what they do that their nobility does speak
Happiness is not your right--never--
You do yourself wrong demanding to be happy--forever?
Life is a shadow
Its mysteries you will never know.
The Sublime knows every heart
From their joys and sorrows she never stands apart
She shares the joys of those who are happy
She weeps with the forlorn, neglected, the forgotten and the lonely
None sees her tears but so often in silence she does weep
Like a guardian she watches over everyone awake or in sleep
When the stars, the moon, the sea and all nature have fallen asleep
She keeps night company and her vigilance she does unfailingly keep.
10 She keeps in her secret drawer a diary
Every human event she records faithfully
Over all things does The Sublime transcend
She knows no beginning or end.
Time pursues her every footstep
But never knows her depth.
Where is her abode?- Who does know?
She dwells nowhere---her presence she doesn't show
But those who live in the light
Feels her presence though not by sight
Those who call her friend are blessed
Their hearts will know peace and rest
Not seeing you just for a day
is three autumns long*
since you my love has left a year ago-
that's 1,095# years---do you hear my sad song?
* ee-je pu-chien, ru san chiew---famous Chinese saying
# I think this figure is correct
I'll be I, you'll be you
each within our void--we met
once before--love couldn't be-
we'll some day either remember or forget
but nothing would ever be the same
even though we should meet one remote day
only a few words would be said in exchange
our eyes would not greet as we like strangers walk our own way.
* inspired by WIN-WIN by Vero Jouline--a fellow-writer in HP
Do I need to explain?
Would anyone be keen to hear?
Nothing would change
everyone holds their own interest more dear
and time the restless sentinel
speeds its way on its incessant round
each life is a microcosm in struggle
hidden in some little corner from where hardly is heard a sound.
I should never compare
myself with others--I'm my own-
only that I should quietly endeavour
unnoticed and unknown, all alone.
There is enough room
in life for me to explore
my duties to do, my dreams to crystallise
all that I can do is my best--no more.