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Baggage Inventory

Baggage Inventory

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Published by Shyam Adrift
On leaving Army
Baggage Inventory

My boxes are packed
I am almost done
Twenty three years of Sojourns
Tightly packed
Into three boxes
Everything comes down
To Time and Space!

With some empty spaces
In the recesses
Where amoebas like memories
Won’t fit,
Always feeding, always changing!
The heart is the back pack
For such changelings
The mind! Nah!
It is already mined enough!

Well! Here is my inventory!
A ceremonial uniform
Now only to be donned
On National Days
A pair of Camouflage fatigues
That reeks of battles
Hued with disruptive patterns
Of jungles, deserts and mountains
Of sweaty toils and training
And bloodied encounters
Of experiences medals can’t pin

Ah! My glistening medals
And manhood ribbons
The dull Shaurya Chakra
Soaked in blood
The Parakram Padak (Purple Heart)
In close trail, the rest, motifs and bars
Of places and operations
Lucid memories, garnished
Taking up the second rung

Next is My Karate Gi!
A blast from the past!
When I could fly
Float in the air
Could kick and punch before
The opponent blinked
And defend
Defend myself like a hardened rock
Hmm! Now I am just broken tiles
Trampled, crushed! Jagged ends!
The karate Gi of my childhood
And heady hyper active youth
Carries a part of my
Never dying soul
It does not matter if
I would need another life
To fit into it!

Then are my books!
Wuthering Heights, moth eaten
But damned Heathcliff breathes,
His tortured soul ever yearning
For Catherine!
Reminiscences of the college corridors
Where one dreamt of moors
Eh! How tough it was
To stay demure in
The years of youth
Emily Bronte breathed
Her soul into this one book
And gems of little poems
I carry Emily as a reminder
How strong love can be!

Following her are works of Romantic Poets,
Eliot and Metaphysical poets
Making a heady cocktail
With old monk rum
Filling the Hollow men
To the brim while Beckett’s Godot
Must wait eternally
In the Wasteland
Prufrock nods, in the company
Of the Complete works of the Bard
Tess & Jude not so obscure
Plunge deeper into the Heart of Darkness
While musing with Gabriel Oaks
Hardy vainly butters the toast
For Bathsheba Everdene
With Lady Macbeth’s knife
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Frowns at Hemmingway and Dickens
Marlow & Lawrence
Forming a handsome foursome!

Hmm! Poems and Rhapsodies!
Blinded Milton’s Paradise Lost
Soul music matching chords
With Beatrice’s unfathomed emerald eyes
Rising crescendos of Dante’s Inferno

Music! Yes my Music, much digitized
And surmised into
Hard disks and a soft heart
Yet a box full of hard original vinyl LPs
Where language & genre is no bar
Fiddler on the roof shares space
With Begum Akhtar
A Life time Treasure inherited
From Jacob John
My teacher and mentor,
From childhood to the present decay
A Murphy turn table,
Box full of LPs spanning decades
Of real music!
Decades back, a child sitting
In Jacob’s room
Overlooking the greens
Developing an ear and
A heart for the world of music
While sipping Jacob’s steaming coffee
And listening, never speaking, just feeling!


He taught me too that
The songs of bulbuls, warblers,
And the Koel have to be heard
Right there in the woods
Ah! Fellah! They cannot be digitized

My bird watching books
The winged creatures
Jacob got me in love with
A Lifetime affair
Bless Jacob, Bless Salim Ali!
It is impossible for a poet
To be just an Ornithologist
A male sun bird’s vivid colours
Will put any canvas to shame
No artist can paint
A pheasant’s plumage
The sky pales before
The blue hues of the kingfisher

And then my cherished
Childhood fancy, my Life time collection
Of stamps!
A shy little boy
Clutching on to stamps of nations
Seen and unseen
The memories of exchanges
Still fresh, still lingering.
There are a few of Nations gone
And of Nations in transit
A Biafra stamp, stamps of East Pakistan
Some of them stamped as the
New Nation of Bangladesh
The stamps of the Raj
And all that past
An Anna each on
Victoria’s and George’s head! Eh!
The albums are worn out
Like me, and stamps of
Places and people
Th
On leaving Army
Baggage Inventory

My boxes are packed
I am almost done
Twenty three years of Sojourns
Tightly packed
Into three boxes
Everything comes down
To Time and Space!

With some empty spaces
In the recesses
Where amoebas like memories
Won’t fit,
Always feeding, always changing!
The heart is the back pack
For such changelings
The mind! Nah!
It is already mined enough!

Well! Here is my inventory!
A ceremonial uniform
Now only to be donned
On National Days
A pair of Camouflage fatigues
That reeks of battles
Hued with disruptive patterns
Of jungles, deserts and mountains
Of sweaty toils and training
And bloodied encounters
Of experiences medals can’t pin

Ah! My glistening medals
And manhood ribbons
The dull Shaurya Chakra
Soaked in blood
The Parakram Padak (Purple Heart)
In close trail, the rest, motifs and bars
Of places and operations
Lucid memories, garnished
Taking up the second rung

Next is My Karate Gi!
A blast from the past!
When I could fly
Float in the air
Could kick and punch before
The opponent blinked
And defend
Defend myself like a hardened rock
Hmm! Now I am just broken tiles
Trampled, crushed! Jagged ends!
The karate Gi of my childhood
And heady hyper active youth
Carries a part of my
Never dying soul
It does not matter if
I would need another life
To fit into it!

Then are my books!
Wuthering Heights, moth eaten
But damned Heathcliff breathes,
His tortured soul ever yearning
For Catherine!
Reminiscences of the college corridors
Where one dreamt of moors
Eh! How tough it was
To stay demure in
The years of youth
Emily Bronte breathed
Her soul into this one book
And gems of little poems
I carry Emily as a reminder
How strong love can be!

Following her are works of Romantic Poets,
Eliot and Metaphysical poets
Making a heady cocktail
With old monk rum
Filling the Hollow men
To the brim while Beckett’s Godot
Must wait eternally
In the Wasteland
Prufrock nods, in the company
Of the Complete works of the Bard
Tess & Jude not so obscure
Plunge deeper into the Heart of Darkness
While musing with Gabriel Oaks
Hardy vainly butters the toast
For Bathsheba Everdene
With Lady Macbeth’s knife
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Frowns at Hemmingway and Dickens
Marlow & Lawrence
Forming a handsome foursome!

Hmm! Poems and Rhapsodies!
Blinded Milton’s Paradise Lost
Soul music matching chords
With Beatrice’s unfathomed emerald eyes
Rising crescendos of Dante’s Inferno

Music! Yes my Music, much digitized
And surmised into
Hard disks and a soft heart
Yet a box full of hard original vinyl LPs
Where language & genre is no bar
Fiddler on the roof shares space
With Begum Akhtar
A Life time Treasure inherited
From Jacob John
My teacher and mentor,
From childhood to the present decay
A Murphy turn table,
Box full of LPs spanning decades
Of real music!
Decades back, a child sitting
In Jacob’s room
Overlooking the greens
Developing an ear and
A heart for the world of music
While sipping Jacob’s steaming coffee
And listening, never speaking, just feeling!


He taught me too that
The songs of bulbuls, warblers,
And the Koel have to be heard
Right there in the woods
Ah! Fellah! They cannot be digitized

My bird watching books
The winged creatures
Jacob got me in love with
A Lifetime affair
Bless Jacob, Bless Salim Ali!
It is impossible for a poet
To be just an Ornithologist
A male sun bird’s vivid colours
Will put any canvas to shame
No artist can paint
A pheasant’s plumage
The sky pales before
The blue hues of the kingfisher

And then my cherished
Childhood fancy, my Life time collection
Of stamps!
A shy little boy
Clutching on to stamps of nations
Seen and unseen
The memories of exchanges
Still fresh, still lingering.
There are a few of Nations gone
And of Nations in transit
A Biafra stamp, stamps of East Pakistan
Some of them stamped as the
New Nation of Bangladesh
The stamps of the Raj
And all that past
An Anna each on
Victoria’s and George’s head! Eh!
The albums are worn out
Like me, and stamps of
Places and people
Th

More info:

Published by: Shyam Adrift on Feb 24, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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01/26/2013

 
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Activity (175)

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Rose added this note
I love this! : )
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
Daniel Essman added this note
What I like about this poem is its honesty and that I don't want the poem to end...my friend...
Rose liked this
Shyam Adrift liked this
Janet Ference added this note
Wow! What a ride. I love the books especially. Such exuberance in un-packing your life - spilling it out on the page - with all your treasures burnished for us - and then "From childhood to the present decay" ! - no decay here, just rich, rich, rich.
Jean-Pierre Latina added this note
A blast from the past!/When I could fly/Float in the air/..." "May be it is about time/To embark on a long voyage/ To explore the unknown!/..." "The heart is the compass!" Not only towards the unknown but towards the longing, Shyam
Helen Winslow Black added this note
SPRING CLEANING It takes a lot of guts to do a baggage inventory. Deceptively simple, builds on itself like a downstream current, insistent, taking surprising twists and turns, until you're overtaken by the realization that by doing his inventory--he's already embarked on the voyage
Daniel Essman added this note
i admire your inventory...and wonder if i could do the same...holes in my pockets, couldn't keep track of the change....memory, like trying to kiss a winging butterfly, or gongs at midnight...strong poem, Shyam...thankyou

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