It’s all the same song

It’s all the same song long poem

If someone were to take me to my task,

if someone were to strip me naked,

if someone were to thrust a mirror in my face,

and ask me earnestly,

‘Isn’t this true?

Isn’t it an undeniable fact that all your poems

sound the same, though in different words’,

I will have to ask them to hold their breath

and read what follows.

Be it a child searching for a beautiful seashell,

or a woman searching for salt in the kitchen,

or a clerk searching for a missing file,

or a gambler searching for a lucky number,

or a boy searching for his guru,

or an old man searching for his roots,

or a social activist searching for poor people,

or a Buddha searching for enlightenment,

or a poet searching for that elusive word,

or a beggar searching for a kind face,

or a rat searching for crumbs of bread,

they are all searching for the same thing!

They are all searching for the same thing!

If that someone were to still frown,

if that someone were to shake head from side to side,

if that someone were to stand before me hands folded

like a critic before a painting and ask me cynically,

‘Isn’t this true?

Isn’t this an undeniable fact that art is a way of seeing

and you haven’t learnt to see differently?’,

I will have to once again ask them to hold their breath

and read what follows.

A train lets out a whistle,

a milkman tinkles his bells,

a priest chants his mantras,

a judge slams his hammer,

a father slaps his son,

a bomb explodes,

a hymn emerges from the hearts of devotees,

a mad rhythm emerges from the feet of wild beasts,

a kid lets out a primal scream as he runs towards his home,

a soldier lets out a war cry as he runs towards his death,

a glass breaks,

a paper is torn,

a door is shut,

a horn from behind, always a horn from behind,

a dog barks at its own shadows,

a donkey neighs out of boredom,

a cuckoo cuckoos,

a cockerel cockereckoos,

the leaves rustle rararararara,

the wind threatens oooooooh,

the waterfall cries aaaaaaaaah,

a child cries for milk (if you ever missed one),

a mother cries for her dead son (if you ever heard one),

someone snores,

someone sneezes,

someone burps,

the clock ticks, tacks,

the heart beats, on and on,

a sage sits silently in meditation,

but it’s all the same song!

It’s all the same song!

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Balaji Gopalan

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I owe all of my poetry to the influence of Pablo Neruda. Reading him 10 years ago on the beaches of Goa, gave me the permission to be who I am and write what I feel. My poetry has never been the same after that. All that I write is an offering to Neruda.
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