Cry, My Books Cry

Wish to share poem by my dear agnostic friend Arvind Gordhandas, who passed away few years ago.. However, poets never really elapse. They live on in the light of their words and feelings…


Cry, my books cry
Your parents are dead
And you have no children

On an island in an ocean
Miles away from anyone anywhere
You are alone in your nook
And no one is there to look,
Touch or smile, as if
You are quarantined

Cry, my books, cry
Lonely like refugees
Huddled into bundles
Shapeless, without energy
Your tongue is tied, perhaps
Cut, so that, Voltaire cannot speak
While the rich can babble
In the ring so that,You poor little books
Are out of their reach.

Cry, my books, cry
They don’t need you
On the shelves, In their minds , In their pockets
They don’t need you . Even if you are cheap
Who is interested enough to read?

Cry, my books cry
No ome asks a question about you
There is hardly a Socrates around
Shakespeare might as well be
A stockbroker and
Plato a paan shop owner
Kabir wrote thousands of cuplets
On Hindu-Muslim unity, yet
We are still to get our sanity

Cry, my books cry
Your companions are poor
Dust, dog-ears and dragonflies
Through time’s think and thin, and
In spite of centuries of the Gita
Persist shameful chapters of sin;
If no one opens you
White ants will- without a din.

Cry, my books, cry
We have no place or standing
Or status in the clubs
In homes or hearts of men,
In libraries we smell of mildew
Mice run around between
Sundown and mornning new.

Cry, my books, cry
Scabbards carry weapons
You can’t even kill a fly
What is your use to people
Who do nothing but shrill
Day in day out;
Keep quiet, my poor little books
You will never rule the sword,
The rifles, the guns and the crooks

Cry, my books, cry
Temples are places
Where God remains unperturbed
They don’t read a syllable
And if the did-they will buy
Copies of their own eulogies
Without a discount . On devotees’ accounts

Cry, my books, cry
Till the waters in your sockets dry
Like wells in a summer
You can’t commit a decent suicide
You are forced to live
So that a moneyed man , Can buy you outright
To park on a shelf
Sandwhiched between Imported cigarette tins
And photographic memories, Of his sins

Cry, my books, cry
What else can you do
History has fluttered past
Empty bellies and columns of architechtural remains
With rummaging rats as
Their only residents, but
They say great ideas have come from books
Yes, ideas of warfare
Rituals and material happiness are retained

Cry, my books, cry
Time has come to take you on a journey
With me, where Socrates
Kabir and T.H. Huxley and I Will be burnt
And the onlookers will not wait
Till we are proclaimed dead.

I tell you, oh my books, please wait
Let me read just one, Open a page or two, just once,
Let me write a few words
Just once, a little before
We are sent to the gallows
More than once.

All rights reserved, © Manjari Gordhandas.
Copying without permission for non-personal use is forbidden


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