A dirge of my own

It was my Ustaad who by a veiled threat –  sometime in 2007  – made me start writing poetry …. after that, I dabbled in it now and then, concentrating (in all senses of the word here) on mostly what in Urdu tradition are termed “qasidas” or more frequently and flippantly, light-hearted verses.

This was the difference between me and my Ustaad, whose poems were more incisive and came from the heart, while mine except for a few, were just a clever (If I may say so myself…umm well, I will also term them “adroit” and “deft”) arrangment of rhyme.

Well so much for all that…. however, there was one effort that I was quite proud of accomplishing, even though the motive of writing it has to remain shrouded in secrecy. It will suffice to say that it came about a particular difficult phase for me and though by no means has this Смутное время come to an end… I guess I have come to terms with it and don’t just feel about about it that strongly any more (well that is all I can say – the rest will be revealed somewhere around 2022 or so) 

As I said, I wrote this sometime last year and was in somewhat of a bind about whether to put it here, but finally decided to do so, if you all would be in any way interested.

                     The Ballad of the Melancholy Bear

Writing his mournful ballad, the poet, who though a Human might do appear
Has the heart and soul of a Cat but the looks and the build of the Polar Bear

Thought through a welter of charged emotions: sorrow, marked dejection
The inexplicable, ununderstandable reason for from human race his rejection

Am I really that bad or have done something criminal? I sometimes did bug
Some very busy people but they were always so welcome to my big ears tug
Is the reason that I am a relic from the fin-de-siecle era and so old-fashioned
And get about books or Urdu ghazals and such things sooo very impassioned
Perhaps its for the best, he reluctantly concluded. Why should I bother those
Who’ve already every comfort and associates they’d need. I only just impose
After all, what am I? Not a being but a melange of various roles, only a curio
A varied mix of guide, policeman, secretarial assistant and a service bureau
A library, reference manual, goodwill reinforcement, the last line of defence
The big bulwark, the misfit, the jester; but sure to never cause anyone offence
At one thing he was best and eagerly sought. No one else could you ever find
To be stood up or kept waiting long with a comforting thought: He wont mind
Still only to hear: You have your own life or get one while some did cuttingly say
Even: For God’s sake, stop disturbing me or making me tense. Please go away
A thought then he also devoted to various colourful but laughingly farcial capers
Beginning they so promisingly, then follow a similar pattern that do soon tapers
Off into ridicule. A musical flourish or spirited and sustaining offstage clapping
As he enters and struts about, earning successes and plaudits amid feet tapping
Soon the mood rapidly changes and off he slouches, head bowed and in his ears
Resounding no longer the happic music but a cacophony of loud hisses and jeers
What now? A circus where he could juggle as he did at work. Or in a museum lurk
What else can – bear or man – do at the difficult times when even jokes don’t work


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