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

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paper

The Arabs have a word for it
— they call it maqtāb —
pieces of paper that say
you are a
CEO, Field Marshal, Minister of
Railways.
Shelley called them shadows
not substantial things...
Swift said they were bubbles
raised by breath of kings.

What immense power, what glory,
what awe...
buttressed by a signature and
a stamp...
...of another who holds a piece
of paper for himself.

Paper burns, paper crumbles.
Paper dissolves in water.
Or someone can tear paper
...or sign another paper that
says your maqtāb is no more.

Then boast no more your
mighty deeds*...
gather your books, your
laptop-bag, the trinkets you
have accumulated and go
home —
fallible, fallen.

*this line from Shelley's Death the Leveller.
Swift's line is from A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General.

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