Shiv Pratap Pal writes me:
“Every elder must be respected even if he is elder by a single day. This is tradition. Please let me follow the same. A poet never gets tired and poetry never dies.”
Oh! this leaves me gasping for so many reasons needing enumeration.
The world reminds me daily by email and text, television commercial,
I am a privileged one, by age and right, among the most vulnerable,
so stay, baby, stay, inside your apartment and your mind where the
only virus that can come, is the one you’ve planted and tended all your whole life long.
Oft have I writ about being closer to the end, and this, untroubling,
a relief of sorts in what I fear is a new Dark Age that will arrive,
that will make writing poetry, sadly, an unlikely survival skill,
so I rite furious and furiously to give the best, the rest, of me, away.
Few are the societies that do not venerate to some degree, the elderly,
as if living long bestowed wisdom, in addition to an irritable crankiness,
(why the Inuit Indians put their elderly on an ice floe to die)
neither, both, of the “ain’t necessarily so” conditionals as wisdom deevolves and crankiness is a perpetual, a perpetual annoyance.
Do I deserve respect?
This haunts, for by right, we all believe it is
a conditional that must be earned, and not acquired by a general,
genetic lottery. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
I do not, and a man who announces,
“I am deserving of same”
by saying this, clearly is and was not, or ever will be.
A single day!
What an amazement!
This relativity theorem, this luck of the draw, can’t argue with it, because it is tradition, somethingthat I’m well acquainted, because when I suffered on Saturdays, as an Orthodox Jewish Child, who wanted to worship with the brothers at the Riverside Drive basketball courts, was dragged to a synagogue where he joked, they could of just inserted the video tape of the prior week, prior year, thousands of prior centuries, a previous millennium, who’d notice?
Who deserves respect?
The teacher, the one who gives it instant unflinchingly,
he who accepts a task from a stranger to translate
his words to a language he knows not even the alphabet,
indeed, a tribute to another, and executes it so well, but best! best!
no questions asked.
Who deserves respect?
One who respects tradition,
giving respect unquenchingly,
for the things that we cannot see,
only observe, come only in a size of limitless,
come unasked, freely given, even happily, and this is
why, for all of the reasons herein listed above, I give all respect to
a fellow poet, and pledge to arm embrace before tradition’s always untimely messenger says to me अब और नहीं! (no more!)
Shiv Pratap Pal