Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Poem - The Breath of Life

Let me share a poem with you. A poem straight from my heart and soul. It is for the sanctity of life. A poem that cries out for the millions of unborn children whose right to life is taken from them in their helplessness.

I walk the streets and see the crowds
Who is this person, a shadow in the night?
What is creature called man?
What is this thing called a human?

It was the end of my life,
I was old and done with working,
My life's ebb drew me to silence,
And I feel a sad solitude now.

But once my blood raced and my pulse pounded
I was in the thunder of youth
I was bold and brash and bad
And indulged in a big mistake

What was that mistake? I think now.
What was that thing we decided to end?
Was is a human? Or was it not?
Where are we and how far have we come?

Now I wish I could see the great light.
What did I live for? What was I to be?
Where has the road of life led me?
Now, that I am on my death bed?

The breath is dim and the life, scant,
The head reels into a slow darkness,
And where do I head now? Is it the end?
What was I? Some flesh and blood?

And now I see the awesome light,
It shines so bright but I'm afraid of it.
This was the light when I was conceived,
When my life hung from a fragile thread.

But I wish I had that second chance now.
Now that I know the breath that conceived me,
Breath from that light, that gave me life,
A second chance is all I ask.

Not that I may see the light,
For I was that mistake - for I closed my eyes,
And that thing I thought was a cluster of just cells,
Lies happily above, near the light of breath.

1 comment:

  1. hi terry, just wanted to share this conversation.. go thru it when u have time...


    [Shri Surendra Nath Das Gupta]

    One day, with some of my young friends belonging to different colleges, I went to the Belur Math to see Swamiji. We sat round him; talks on various subjects were going on. No sooner was any question put to him than he gave the most conclusive answer to it. Suddenly he exclaimed, pointing to us, "You are all studying different schools of European philosophy and metaphysics and learning new facts about nationalities and countries; can you tell me what is the grandest of all the truths in life?"

    We began to think, but could not make out what he wanted us to say. As none put forth any reply, he exclaimed in his inspiring language:

    "Look here — we shall all die! Bear this in mind always, and then the spirit within will wake up. Then only, meanness will vanish from you, practicality in work will come, you will get new vigour in mind and body, and those who come in contact with you will also feel that they have really got something uplifting from you."

    Then the following conversation took place between him and myself:

    Myself: But, Swamiji, will not the spirit break down at the thought of death and the heart be overpowered by despondency?

    Swamiji: Quite so. At first, the heart will break down, and despondency and gloomy thoughts will occupy your mind. But persist; let days pass like that — and then? Then you will see that new strength has come into the heart, that the constant thought of death is giving you a new life and is making you more and more thoughtful by bringing every moment before your mind's eye the truth of the saying, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! " Wait! Let days, months, and years pass, and you will feel that the spirit within is waking up with the strength of a lion, that the little power within has transformed itself into a mighty power! Think of death always, and you will realise the truth of every word I say. What more shall I say in words!

    One of my friends praised Swamiji in a low voice.

    Swamiji: Do not praise me. Praise and censure have no value in this world of ours. They only rock a man as if in a swing. Praise I have had enough of; showers of censure I have also had to bear; but what avails thinking of them! Let everyone go on doing his own duty unconcerned. When the last moment arrives, praise and blame will be the same to you, to me, and to others. We are here to work, and will have to leave all when the call comes

    Myself: How little we are, Swamiji!

    Swamiji: True! You have well said! Think of this infinite universe with its millions and millions of solar systems, and think with what an infinite, incomprehensible power they are impelled, running as if to touch the Feet of the One Unknown — and how little we are! Where then is room here to allow ourselves to indulge in vileness and mean-mindedness? What should we gain here by fostering mutual enmity and party-spirit? Take my advice: Set yourselves wholly to the service of others, when you come from your colleges. Believe me, far greater happiness would then be yours than if you had had a whole treasury full of money and other valuables at your command. As you go on your way, serving others, you will advance accordingly in the path of knowledge.

    Myself: But we are so very poor, Swamiji!

    Swamiji: Leave aside your thoughts of poverty! In what respect are you poor? Do you feel regret because you have not a coach and pair or a retinue of servants at your beck and call? What of that? You little know how nothing would be impossible for you in life if you labour day and night for others with your heart's blood! And lo and behold! the other side of the hallowed river of life stands revealed before your eyes — the screen of Death has vanished, and you are the inheritors of the wondrous realm of immortality!

    Myself: Oh, how we enjoy sitting before you, Swamiji, and hearing your life-giving words!

    Swamiji: You see, in my travels throughout India all these years, I have come across many a great soul, many a heart overflowing with loving kindness, sitting at whose feet I used to feel a mighty current of strength coursing into my heart, and the few words I speak to you are only through the force of that current gained by coming in contact with them! Do not think I am myself something great!

    Myself: But we look upon you, Swamiji, as one who has realised God!

    No sooner did I say these words than those fascinating eyes of his were filled with tears (Oh, how vividly I, see that scene before my eyes even now), and he with a heart overflowing with love, softly and gently spoke: "At those Blessed Feet is the perfection of Knowledge, sought by the Jnanis! At those Blessed Feet also is the fulfilment of Love sought by the Lovers! Oh, say, where else will men and women go for refuge but to those Blessed Feet!"

    After a while he again said, "Alas! what folly for men in this world to spend their days fighting and quarrelling with one another as they do! But how long can they go in that way? In the evening of life (At the end of one's whole course of transmigratory existence.) they must all come home, to the arms of the Mother."