Author Archives: amitapaul

Locked in , Locked out

Locked in , Locked out

So I was locked in
With blossom at my window
And rose petals scattered on my garden steps
Daffodils peeping from the borders
And daises on my lawn

So I was locked in
With ducks and geese on my pond
And sheep on my low stone wall
Low ancient knotted trees for my walk
And a blue sea shimmering

So I was locked in
With my pantry wisely full
My children playing chess
My spouse helping me cook
And the washing machine purring softly

So I was locked in
With books and music and films
And news bulletins not being too negative
My government had my back
My tax and mortgage payments deferred

So I was locked out
Suddenly with no payment
My wife nearing her time
My mother old and my children little
A few sparse banknotes in my purse

So I was locked out
With no roof over my head and no food to eat
Worse still no food for my dependents
No trains or buses to go home
Where we might at least have survived on the field
A little while or died among known faces

So on the roadside
Halfway between the city and my village
On empty stomach drinking dirty water
As the sun rose high pitilessly
My heart finally broke
Like a dog hit by a careless truck
On the metalled road I died

( ASA )

Homeward Bound

Humankind breaks my heart
Humankind puts it together

Humankind makes me despair
Makes me hope

Those bone anklets under your swirling skirt
Those thin resilient legs
Your march in March on a dusty road
At four score years and ten

That unashamed look which makes the giver beg
Your pardon
You have a right to what is given

One moment in a heap
The next upright

The T shirt that says I love New York
That flesh coloured bag with its black holding straps

The heat a shimmer
The night a glimmer

Hunger a constant knawing at the gut
A dull heavy ache in the head

Sprawling on a green bank falling from the road
Like a kind grassy hillslope of home, asleep

In a sweaty crowd of others like you
To smile at your little girl , then lifting her back
On your shoulder

You and you and you
If I say I love you
Does it mean anything ?

Better than pointless tears
But as useless as prayers

When deaf gods will not hear

You may not hear
But you know

Come home

I am your Mother today
I wait
My arms outstretched

Come home to me

( A S A )

Kindness v. Coronavirus

Officially , we are cool , collected , benevolent and rational
Unofficially , and in effect , almost all are “ anti – national “

No I don’t use the term as lightly as some others have done
I mean all human beings , really , also as in “ all Indians are one “

The uneducated ignorant remote villagers aside
What are the educated Urbans doing , woe betide !

If even the threat of a global pandemic cannot restrain us
If even an untreatable killer virus can’t train us

To act in a quiet disciplined mature and rational fashion
If still we give primacy to superstition and passion

If prejudice disunity selfishness hatred guide us
If we allow a false sense of entitlement to ride us

Then sorry to say this but we deserve all that is on its way
If reason will not have its way , Corona will have its way

Doctors and drugs may save some folk but mostly it’s our duty
Fate puts it all in our own hands , and really that’s the beauty

If all think of each other, and if each one thinks for all
And acts that way , Covid 19 cannot hold us in thrall

If each thinks only for himself , family and clan
Covid 19 will catch those folks whatever be their plan

“ He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.”

Do your best for all other beings and you too shall find grace
This test is well -devised to show what makes the human race

If I’m prepared to suffer and lay down my life for all
Then surely I shall know God’s Grace even though to Death I fall

If I am selfish , if among people I discriminate
Then in this world and in the next I know I’ve sealed my Fate

If die we must ( and all must die ) if not today , tomorrow
Let’s use with gentleness and grace the Time we from Death borrow

Dogs are better than us in this our dog eat dog cruelness
Dear Heaven teach us kindness and save us from unkindness

It all depends on us Dear Friends what we are prepared to give
What if I live but kindness dies ? Let me die , kindness live

( Amita Sarjit Singh Ahluwalia )

There has to be a reason

There has to be a reason why this bug is called a crown
And it is not simply that we are in certain awe of death
Perhaps it is designed to bring established systems down

A reason why air pathways of the lungs in fluid drown
There has to be a reason why it rides upon our breath
Perhaps it is designed to bring established systems down

Swiftly it moves across the globe through country state and town
Enveloping in its dreaded cloud every syringe and steth
There has to be a reason why this bug is called a crown

I wonder why the scholar says softly with worried frown
This virus seems to me so like Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth
Perhaps it is designed to bring established systems down

The last thought of the lonely man in white hospital gown
Dying in smell of spirit and fading in fumes of meth
“There has to be a reason why this bug is called a crown
Perhaps it is designed to bring established systems down “

( Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia)

Note : ‘Corona ‘ in Greek, Latin , Spanish and Italian means ‘ Crown ‘

Triplet Future



Triplet One


The future is not what we thought it would be
Travellers since long , we are weary , a- weary

Sadly , cynically , we learn to smile
At times even laugh , at our own naïveté
For the future is nothing like we thought it would be
Travellers since long , we are weary , weary

Some are defiant , some are struck dumb
Some can be heard to complain bitterly
The future , they say , isn’t what it should be
We travellers are tired , they say wearily

But how did this happen when we toiled so hard
When we did our best and we worked honourably
How is the future went wrong horribly
We’ve travelled and travelled, we are weary , weary

Some die now heart- broken others struggle still
A few have surrendered most dishonourably
The future is here that we could not foresee
We are shattered and scattered and oh so weary

Some still try to hope some give in to despair
As slowly the dark closes inevitably
The future is here and it’s a mockery
And we who have brought it are shell- shocked strangely

And then there’s delusion that oft strikes the mad
There’s the lot who believe this is not trumpery
The future is theirs but only tragically
How can we explain we are so, so weary

The future is here , and from here on perhaps
The future that some see so delusionally
Will not even be there for any to see
We have faced this , we know , and we are weary, weary

When we who knew much and worked whole heartedly
When we who for all toiled with no enmity
Have faced this then you with your crude bigotry
Will face so much worse , that is just bound to be

We see much with hindsight and can locate our faults
But who’ll learn from us and our melancholy
There is no recourse , even with all hindsight
Mankind will still repeat past history

What a curse is this knowledge this ability
Through bitter experience that comes finally
That now can predict your bloody trajectory
We have cried hoarse , can no more , we are so weary

Time past is time present and future as well
The Ancients were right as was Eliot’s decree
Caught in Blind Fate’s grip we may writhe desperately
But we cannot change our innate tragedy

Character yes Character is Destiny
Heraclitus said this in 500 BC
Our Free Will is limited , we are primed to be
Self limiting , self killing , that’s our propensity

If you still have hope , then more power to you
Work if you can to save humanity
But for most of us old ones the future is here
And here we’ll fall off , feeling weary , weary

Goodbye , World , take care , learn more humanity
Goodbye , World , be better for posterity
Goodbye , World , the future means uncertainty
Goodbye , and Goodnight , we are weary , weary

No , the future is never what you think it will be
And now even Time’s giving up wearily

Triplet Two


The Future was not what we thought it would be
So we put it into the works once again
What should we change fully or partially
To rework the damned thing is such a big pain

It’s not one of your TV game shows you know
“ What’s the one thing you’d change….” etcetera , etcetera
Nor like Omar Khayyam where you smash at one go
To rebuild you might end up with a worse chimera

Leave us be , we are thinking , arguing, at work
We shall this set thing right if it kills us to do so
Only joking – it’s just that we don’t like to shirk
Don’t tell us we can’t die – we already know so

Point is : is it worth it ? For given your brain
And instincts propensities ego and greed
You’re just going to mess up again and again
For to voices of caution you never pay heed

In fact – sigh – time – past and time -future and present
Which for us is all now shows us all is futile
But since we just left we must show what we meant
Therefore we’re for once going the extra mile

You just might escape – if you’re careful – this time
If not then God Help You , you Gowd – elpus lot
Next time , Mass Punishment for every crime
Sorry , Earthly Folk , but you all just lost the plot

Triplet Three


The Future was not what we thought it would be
But whatever it was made the past more complex
We do not plot out everything for you Earthlings
But we cannot help laughing when muscles you flex

Of course we can change past or present or future
But for whom ? For us all the options exist
We are not limited by your choice or your actions
Potential and actual for us still persist

Your timepod is toxic and you make it so
You made it you still do and may continue
We won’t interfere we see all your tendencies
But options and choices exist for you too

The catch is that choices are still individual
But consequence common as most of you see
If still you confuse self with soul and salvation
We can only warn you but must let you be

The Future still exists as both past and present
As Fruit contains Seed and the Flower and the Tree
We see that you understand and laughably try
In copybooks oddly to change history

No effort by most to evolve understand
No effort by most to nurture empathy
No real love compassion no common involvement
A mockery too all your philanthropy

Still you can evolve and still you can unravel
We watch with much interest but you must decide
Construction destruction this option that option
Decide where you’ll go – and enjoy the ride

( Amita Paul )

The Prism

A ray of thought enters the mind
The mind processes it
At what pace , is up to the mind
It digests and absorbs some light
It processes the rest in words
It transforms the light into words
And prompts speech , or writing
or sends out a wish or a prayer
a curse or a blessing
a negative , positive or indifferent thought
a vibration towards the universe
Or splits it into seven colours
And radiates it all back
or in many directions

The mind is a prism

May I Trouble You?

May I trouble you a little ?

Disturb your Saturday Evening with friends


Sunday Morning with family

or at church ?

I have a poem

that insists on being written

and displayed

where many can see it

Can you tell me how to do it ?

I used to be content

with copy books before

That no one saw

But now

My poems are spoilt

like petulant children

Therefore this request

Sorry for any trouble

but this is

uppermost in my mind

and hence this poem

The Hall of Mirrors

It was as bewildering
As the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles
Endless reflections
But only of mirrors
Where was the entry
And where the exit
One knew not

Is Eternity a Nightmare
By which Man’s Soul is jag- ridden ?
Endless bewilderment
From which there is no escape ?

Worse still
To see nothing
But your own reflection
Endlessly multiplied

Your own echo
Endlessly reverberating

Coo- ee !
Is anybody else at home ?