April 13, 2015

The Present Tense. {Poem}


At times the present feels
Like a slow burning fever,
A cascade of hurried days,
A cauldron of memories, hopes and tensions
that rise to futures of vague dimensions.

Oh how easy it is…
To be buried in the mines,
To be lost in the shadows of what was,
To cultivate hate for those who hurt us,
For those words and deeds to repeat
in our minds without relent.
For a damning identity to take root
and taint your own sense of beauty,
Like an insufferable scar upon skin,
Earned from the curse of remembering.

And if not tethered to the past,
Are we not tempted by some future?
Labouring with a mix of hope and anguish,
For a vital vision we cannot extinguish,
Of days removed from monotony and loneliness,
A time in which we are exuberant and bear witness,
To a harvest of joy reaped at the end of sorrow.
Only the time to sow its audacious seeds
is always tomorrow.

Oh brothers and sisters I do not mean to sound
despondent in the midst of this divide.
But are these not the tendencies of the mind?
I’d rather be cast as being bleak
than be oblique.
I’d rather scream and shout,
sweat the fever out.
Than be silent
as life plays out.

For is there not a crisis of self belief?
A feeling of worthlessness that pervades
Through our language and demeanour?
Fuelled by a mind built for analysis,
Tuned to problems and comparisons,
but ill suited to being.
Is assigning a summation of self to the mind,
Not akin to an orchestra with a solitary instrument,
A mockery of each symphony
that yearns to be played?

To shatter the myth of our insignificance
Can we contemplate the confluence,
Of the millions of events that result in us coming to be?
Cellular to celestial, each of us a distinct miracle
Each, regardless of circumstance, a result of a yearning to live.
And do we not stand on the shoulders of giants?
Of the same flesh and bone,
Who have navigated the same threads of hope and despair,
Without them, would we be here today?
Without us, what will come to pass?

For here in the present tense,
As you fill your lungs with breath,
In the intensity of these moments,
Are you not free to give voice to what you stand for?
Does your heart not swell with yearning?
When not veiled from your own power and beauty
Are you not armed with vitality and choice?
Do you not wield the brush and the canvas
To paint a life of your choosing
Stroke by glorious stroke.




When Gratitude Eludes you, Try this.


Author: Shanil Samarakoon

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr/Kalyan Chakravarthy


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Shanil Samarakoon