Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच रत्नें | शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करुं ||
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवांचे जीवन | शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां ||
तुका म्हणे पाहा शब्द चि हा देव | शब्द चि गौरव पूजा करुं ||
- abhang of Tukaram Wolhoba Ambile of Dehu

There's No Freedom Like That of a Child's Imagination

கடலுக்கு உண்டு கற்பனைக்கு இல்லை கட்டுப்பாடு

Monday, July 24, 2006

Last Tree Standing

This is an experiment of mine, in trying to write a scenario with two possible outcomes, and so I've put them side by side. And it has also been a useful lesson in HTML.

Last Tree Standing
Mumbai, 16 July 2006


It was the last tree standing
On the prairie’s boundless ground
Harassed by the winds and rain alike
It stood alone, calm, strong
Gently holding on to its last leaves.

“More wood, more fire,
More orgies!
My power shall not stand
Diminished in any way.
The jewels in my crown,
Those trophies of battle,
That glory of being
The Master of his men.
The vile slavery of my serfs
— shall I let go of it?
More orgies, more food,
More laurels to my power!

“Shall a mere tree come in my way?
What shall I make my men do?
Eat roots when they can have pheasant stew?
That last tree shall give me wood,
And they – those serving men –
They shall chop it, and burn it.
The cooking-men will stir the pots;
The hunting-men shall find for me -
Pheasants, and deer and turtles;
The growing men shall bring me
Wheat, and rice and cotton;
The weaver-men, and the barber-men
And the potter-men and other men,
They shall all ply their trades.

“And I:
I keep the peace among them,
I throw them my table-scraps,
And they shall be fed
And be happy.
They shall not murmur
And swear oaths and secrets
Or in any manner rise against me.

“No more wood be there to burn?
What matter?
We shall burn coal.

“No more coal?
O there is some left for a year?
Good. Burn it, then.
Does not matter.
I shall be dead soon.
I’m old, and I have seen my times.
And they were good.
Let it be, for my men are happy.
Let them not stir.
Once I’m dead what do I care?
My son will face times
Of hardship and sorrow?
O! but let him face it,
I can only live my life.

“I burnt the last tree,
I’ll burn the last coalstone.
But I’ve burnt my snuff,
I have nothing more to burn."

"No wood, no fire, no orgies.
We shall do without them.

"Let the tree stand
and bear fruit and seed.
We shall sow those seeds and pray.

"And while a new forest grows,
Let us
Repent our error
And pledge to learn
Not to make them again.

"The jewels of my crown
Or the trophies of my battles,
What more are they than shadows?

"Whither my majesty, my laurels
If my people die after me
Unfed, uncared?

"Shall a mere orgy today
Feed famine tomorrow?

We shall have roots, and tubers,
And whatever else,
The growing-men can by their talents
Make the mother-earth provide.

"We shall all keep a pledge:
I shall, with my potter-men,
And hunter-men and weaver-men,
And barber-men,
Tend to our new forest
And sing to our children
Of our horror, our error.

"Our dear kindred
When it be time to inherit the world;
We hope they shall not find
Our efforts in vain.

"They shall have fruits
And shade,
And rain,And every bounty of the forest.

"Spring shall come again:
There shall be birds that sing,
And flowers and butterflies.
And that will bring joy.

"We shall have in our deaths:
Peace and happiness
That we lived a good life.

"The coal shall stay buried,
The wood stand in its glory,
And I rest
Forever in peace."

3 Comments:

Blogger samudrika said...

Liked the alternative histories type of format.

next you could try a crossword poem which moves back and forth in time. and comes back to the present. just an idea! :)

11:49 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Voice Within said...

cool! one thing for the ignoramus in me: why do the quotation signs open and but dont seem to close? is it by design?

10:06 AM, August 13, 2006  
Blogger Ozymandias said...

@samudrika
Thanks. I'll try that format too sometime!

@voice within
When a quotation spills over into more than one paragraph, a quotation mark is introduced at the start of each additional paragraph to indicate that the quotation still continues.

12:16 PM, August 14, 2006  

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