What Still Remains?

By Arjun Janah in The Daily Poet

Whatever be your credo or belief,
At times, you’ll need some solace, some relief,
For that, on which you based your hopes and dreams,
Might be, in time, your aspiration’s thief.For who can live for long without a loss,
Or never, racked and torn, tormented, toss?
Whenever we may think we’ve mastered life,
It turns and swiftly shows us who’s the boss.

The very things for which we’ve labored, fought,
Have focused on and all the rest forgot,
Those things, as life unwinds, may turn to dust,
And all our strivings then be set to naught.

And what remains, when all appears amiss,
When we, who’ve labored long, are still remiss?
Remember then, there still remains the dawn,
And in the darkness, smile and blow a kiss.

And when a faker, in a tie and suit,
Demands accounting, in his mad pursuit,
Then bow and hand to him a chit, on which
It says, “We’ve quit the race, so all is moot.”

For when our life’s account is drawn and closed,
Then what remains, of all we once supposed
Was worth the life we offered as its price?
“This question,” we are told, “is poorly posed.”

What then remains is still the work we did,
Though this, with time, will be in cobwebs hid –
But more than that, and lasting still a while,
The love we offered, though we weren’t bid.

Though falsehoods live, while truth appears to die,
And most accede, and few still question why,
And though the cause appears as hopeless, still
The truth remains the truth, and not the lie.

Let all coercion and compulsion be
Dissolved by that, which lives within a tree
And makes its branches, in the sun, delight,
That joy that makes us each, for a moment, free.

So in the valley deep of sorrows, sigh,
But never, to your courage, say, “Goodbye.”
There lives, in us, the stillness and the fire,
And these will live, though you and I will die.

2013 December 6th, Fri.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Ed: Arjun is the son of the legendary Indian photographer Sunil Janah. That was how I got to know him, but of course he has his own identity. He is a teacher in New York.

Her Secret Vice

By Arjun Janah (Babui)
?What’s your hobby?? asked her friend.
?You heard me. Speak, and don’t pretend.
I told you mine was postage stamps,
A pastime I acquired from gramps.
But you have never told me. Speak.
I’ve asked you several times this week.?
She could not speak, for quite a while.
But then, she tried to force a smile.
?Your game is up.? She told herself.
?It can’t be kept to just yourself,
This thing you do, your secret shame.
Perhaps she’ll understand, not blame.? Continue reading “Her Secret Vice”

Dare to Share? (Thanksgiving Thoughts)

Subscribe to ShahidulNews

By Arjun Janah


Share



I wander off, from working life, to see and hear what’s new,
And here is what I find — which now is openly in view.
I see the people in two camps (though some are in-between)
And one of them is calling for an ending that’s obscene.
They’re calling for the cops to do what those for hire do best,
To beat up on the ones who dare, their binding chains, to test.
But since the ones who’re testing are these students, who are white,
Or women who are white as well, this gives the rest a fright.
For pepper spray and rods and boots, when used on those who’re darker
Or poorer may be quite okay — and safely out of sight,
Or even guns and bullets, used when we’re asleep at night,
But when it’s done in daylight, with reporters gathered near,
To those who’re lighter, richer — why, then some refuse to cheer,
Though others still approve — and only wish they’d done it sooner.
To both these camps, the other one is certifiably lunar!
And here’s what those in power are now thinking. Hear them say,
To others of their kind, “Let’s stop this wretched thing, today!
“For if some question, what was held for longest time as true,
Then what’s to save some other things from critical review?
We bomb the regions far away — and people burn in hells.
But see, there are no pictures and that story, no one tells.
But what to do when people rise up here, in this, our street,
Or merely sit — near places where we one-percenters meet?
They circumvent the ban on mikes by echoing together!
They point out things that no one did without the tar and feather!
They even give out food and books — and people pause to think…
They’re rodents! If not driven out, this ship of ours might sink!
So hear our drums of war and how we beat them, till at last
Our lust for blood is satisfied. But has the danger passed?
Oh no! These books they distribute, in public in the square,
Must now be gone! And so must those, who advocate we share!”
I wondered off, from working life, and this I saw and heard.
I wondered loud, if rich should share. But I was called a turd.
But here is what some others said, who came to my defense,
And what they said, to me at least, made somewhat better sense.
“Remember that the ones who lived, in this, our bounteous land,
Remembered those who came by ship, but did not understand
The land or cultures that were here. They were, by climate, beaten
And surely would have perished — as do all who haven’t eaten
The season long. But natives came — and gave, it’s said, of maize,
Of turkey and of other things. This did the saved amaze
And they gave thanks (as we still do) not to the ruddy “Indians”
But to their God, their Savior Christ, in these, their new “dominions”.
And natives gave them implements — and other things they needed,
For they were used to sharing all — and those, in trouble, heeded.
But when one needed something back, and asked, this raised a fever
On those who understood him not, and called him, “Indian giver!”
And so it’s been. They’re vanished now, the ones who knew to share…
But should, in turn, these folk depart — who now, to sharing, dare?
Babui / Arjun
2011 November 24th, Th. (Thanksgiving Day)
Brooklyn

The kindness of strangers

Subscribe to ShahidulNews

Share

By Babui / Arjun

He lived as an exile, by himself, all alone,
Far from his country, his family, his home.
And he was a loner — lacked warmth in his heart.
Of company, friendship, he knew not the art.
He lived in a city — in millions, but one,
In the city, where fortunes are lost and are won.
But even in cities, the caring heart beats.
And he was befriended by strangers on streets.
******
To the likes of the stranger, we’re wary and distant,
And yet, that may change, in the space of an instant.
The face of the stranger is shuttered and cold,
And who can observe it but those who are bold?
There are some, who are lonesome — or driven by lust;
And they, at a stranger, their gazes may thrust.
There are some, who’re not used to the city-folk’s way;
And so, at the stranger, their gazes can stray.
There are some, who have lived in the city for long;
And yet, they are innocents, still don’t belong.
And each of the ones I have listed he met,
And others unlisted — we safely may bet.
******
For the nature of humans is social — and so
We reach out to others — though others say no.
The child, she is curious, and yet she’s afraid.
She looks at the stranger, though nothing is said.
She sees in a stranger both angel and devil,
A bounty most precious — and whispers of evil.
And the parent that guards her is wary as well.
How many, the tales that the TV shows tell!
For though, in a village, the children have trust,
In the midst of the city, precaution’s a must.
No different, we, than the cats and the kittens.
For novelty scares as novelty beckons.
******
So back to the exile, abandoned awhile,
The one, who but rarely could manage a smile.
He lived by himself, did his shopping and went
Back to his refuge, increasingly bent.
And when he was aged and he hardly could see,
At crossings, he’d stand and conspicuous be.
And in less than a minute (though sometimes in more),
Along would come one, who our faith would restore.
And every such “angel” would help him across,
And leave him to carry on further with cross.
And some would have issue with term that I use.
Can one, who does duty, the others excuse?
******
But judge them not harshly, the ones who passed by,
And left him to stand there. And ask not for why.
But be like that exile. Be grateful, that some
Do still have the heart, when beckoned, to come.
And those, who had leisure and watched him for years,
They saw how he managed, despite all their fears.
For he was befriended, when all could be lost,
By strangers who helped him, and often at cost.
Strange are the ways of the world that we’re in.
We note not the virtues. We notice the sin.
And strange are the twists and the turns of the world.
A moment — and deep in the abyss we’re hurled.
******
For now he’s been taken to live in a “home”
That’s wrongly so named — and he lies there alone.
And yet, there are workers and residents there,
Who help him, his troubles with patience to bear.
And troubles are many, neglect is but one.
So easy to lose, what with labor was won!
Yet surely, without all the help he receives,
From those who give freely, his living would cease.
There are actions of kindness, with little return,
Save for the knowledge of serving, in turn.
And these are the acts, as we struggle to cope,
That say, “Where there’s heart, you have reason to hope.”
******
He once was an exile, by himself, all alone,
Far from his country, his family, his home.
And still, he’s a loner — the warmth in his heart
Is rarely expressed — as he knows not the art.
And yet, in the midst of the city of dangers,
He still is befriended, by those who were strangers.
On the kindness of strangers, he lives out his years.
They share in his joys and they share in his tears.
2011 August 21st, Sun.
Brooklyn