Tag Archives: friends

Lest we forget

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A painting by my friend Serena Stevens

A painting by my friend Serena Stevens may she rest in peace she battled cancer as valiantly as any soldier

November is a month to remember. Loved ones lost to all kinds of battles… on the front in war, of course, but there are other battles that some folk wage against disease – that dreaded, insidious, cancer; stroke victims, who wage a daily battle with bodies unwilling and unable to respond to the simplest of their wills; so many other ailments and conditions that render folk dealing with pain on a sub-chronic daily basis, the list is a long one. This November I’d like to remember them all.

I can’t name them, but they are all my heroes.

You and you and you, who see

Life ebbing by in slow degrees

For whom there was a time, I know

When nothing ever went so slow

Today your speech is locked behind

An uncooperative mind.

And you, why half your body can’t

Respond to anything you want.

And then there’s one who cannot turn

For pain that through his body burns

And there’s another one who, while

Her spirit breaks, yet she can smile.

Some have lost their limbs to bombs

And still they somehow all limp on

We know not who has been in war

But this we know, and know for sure

There are brave soldiers everywhere

Who need to know that we do care

For them, our poppies red

We wear and still a tear or two we’ll shed.

Fight on you brave immortal souls

The day will come, you’ll reach your goal.

And for those who are thinking of loved ones lost in war I have this to say in remembrance of ‘Poppy Day’.

The famous poem by John McCrae is reproduced below:

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

With so many wars that have been fought since that poem was written, I’d like to change it around a bit

Forget that quarrel with our foe

‘twill only lead to e’er more woe.

And who is foe may in the end

Turn ‘round and some day be a friend.

The only faith, that we need keep

Is, to try and end each day in peace.

 

Let the poppies, sweetly blow

Lest we forget those laid below

And should our leaders want a fight,

And rant and rave about what’s right,

Let’s hide the guns and send them in

To face each other in the ring.

Note: This post was first published a year ago. I have reworked it for the reasons above.

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The Relationship Bazaar

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I was greeted this morning with a Whatsapp message that was really moving and expressed in an almost Gibran-like ‘voice’. It was written in Hindi, and another friend, whose Hindi has fallen into disuse, couldn’t read it as fluently as he would have liked to. So I made a quick and hasty translation.

But, as with a lot of poetry, once something starts buzzing in your head, until you sit down and actually write it it won’t leave you. So, of course I did just that, and here it is:

The Relationship Bazaar

As I was walking in the marketplace

My feet stopped at the Relationship Bazaar.

I looked around and saw it filled

With kinship on sale for near and far

 

Relationships of every kind

Were offered everywhere

‘Relationships for sale’ they cried

‘Come buy a few to spare’

 

Each seller had a lively trade

And I walked up to one

‘Aha!’ he cried, ‘What will you buy?

I have everything under the sun!’

 

With trembling lips I asked the seller

‘How much and what’s for sale?’

With a flourish he said

‘Most everything and some beyond the pale.’

 

‘What would you like? What will you buy?

I have a wondrous range

Special ties with a son, or father

I have all good, some strange.’

 

‘Choose from a sister or a brother

Dear shopper what’s your choice?

Humanity or the love of mother

Faith? Pray, where is your voice?’

 

‘Come, come,’ he cajoled me,

‘Come, come, don’t hesitate!

Ask for something, anything

Your silence on me grates.’

 

With fear and sorrow in my voice

And with a great unease

I sighed and asked him, whispering

‘Do you have friendship, please?’

 

He stopped mid-sale, he stopped and stared

As if I’d lost my mind

Then tearfully he turned and said

‘Ah that is hard to find.

 

‘For friendship is the relationship

On which the world depends

It’s not for sale, it has no price

No price that can be named

 

For friendship is worth everything

This earth and then some more

It is a pure and selfless thing

And this you can be sure

 

The day that friendship’s offered

For a price and put on sale

Why then my dear, dear shopper

The world it will have failed

 

This globe will be uprooted

And lose its orbit quite

The day that friendship’s offered

And can be quoted for a price.

Panchatantra – The Loss of Friends

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The following is all thanks to Wikipedia: The Panchatantra consists of five books – Mitra-bhed: The Loss of Friends; Mitra-lābha or Mitra-samprāpti: The Gaining of Friends; Kākolūkīyam: War and Peace; Labdhapraṇāśam: Loss Of Gains; Aparīkṣitakārakaṃ: Ill-Considered Action / Rash deeds.

The next few tales in verse are from

The Loss of Friends

The first strategy, it’s quite a patakha*

The loss of friends, as told by two jackals

They were Kara-taka and Da-ma-naka

And these are their tales, not one but all…

Read the rest of this entry