I Am Happy As I'M - Poem by Aniruddha Pathak
Haply playing flute on a river bank,
He hardly saw the king’s men approaching,
E’en close when they came and sat in a flank,
To give the happy news: message from king.
As patience when in power a thin virtue,
As good news from royalty scarce can wait,
As best of everything comes with a date,
They were eager king’s diktat to issue:
How among fated few ye shall soon be!
Placed as the kingdom’s minister in prime,
With royal honour, all regalia, we
Have come; let’s be in king’s court in good time.
He showed no emotion still, nor did he
Stop playing, nor was a tune off time
Played; and the flute floated, as if waves upon sea,
The news when repeated, same was the rhyme,
While seated he was on a slab of stone;
The music getting over, he began
Feeding the fish, motherly care as shown,
He said like a suddenly woke up man:
Do see that turtle in a shallow pit,
How happy he’s dunk in a murky mud!
All joys seem his, worried he’s not one bit,
Lost unto him, much like a chirping bird.
Ne’er tries to be what he’s not, nor to rise,
Nor be one up with rivals, nor does care.
Think of that jewel-studded, golden tortoise
At royal court— for hundreds of years there.
You know, the king worships that mark of old.
Tell now this live turtle to come to court,
Tell him you would gild him with stones and gold,
The king would bow to him along his fort.
Tell me now to what would he want to cling—
To get gilded in gold, or live as he’s?
He would for sure want to be his own king,
Care free to roam, do what his heart pleases.
If a turtle knows as does every beast,
What’s good for him, what’s not, I too no less,
To leap unto vile state waters the least,
To barter bliss for royal strife and stress.
Look at the banks of these happy waters,
Look at the trees swaying in happy breeze,
Look at the fish, sea fauna, see otters,
Happy as are, happy others to please.
The joy I get gazing at them ‘pon stone,
I doubt I would e’er on a royal chair—
Many years back that was China’s Chwang Tzu,
The worthy disciple of Lao Tzu.
He knew: power keen to grasp more, more to have,
Cries: give; give me more till it goes to grave;
True, maddened by might power always feels right,
And trusted should scarce be; breadth, gains no height.
Power, unlike an early dawn’s purest dew,
Extirpates man’s every humane virtue2;
For, God did say: Power or ye shall have joy,
Ne’er both3; which, each to each seems a tad coy.
Man’s prone to pride atop a tall tower,
And more yet still if chaired in Stately power;
Say thanks to king, I feel happy as am,
I know naught to do with royal emblem.
1. “…and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is
ever grasping, and like the grave, cries ‘Give, give! ’ –
Abigail Adams (1775) .
2. “Power gradually extirpates from the mind every human
and gentle virtue.” Edmund Burke (1756) .
3. “You shall have joy, or you shall have power, said God;
you shall not have both.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1865)
- Musings | 02.07.12 |
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