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The Bagpipe Music of a Scarecrow

It’s no go the Yogi-Man, it’s no go Blavatsky,1
All I want is a pack of cigars, and a pint of whiskey
When the evening is spread out against the sky2
Like a penitent bereft of his heavenly pie.

Sorry, Descartes, I think, but I do not exist;
Sorry, Bergson, I exist, but I do not change.
Standing at the crossroads of life’s mid-way
I look like a scarecrow scared of crows,
Baffled by the tumbling turns of the tide,
The flaming sword of Eden’s cherub onward
To the battles and wars men fought with men:
His own God’s own men, in the widening gyre.3

It’s no go the bodhisattva, it’s no go the Mahatma,
All they want is a bank balance, and a bit of sadhana
On weekends to appease the thirst of the spirit
That’s superannuated on a computer’s digit.

Do not go gentle into that good night, my son,4
Coat your lollipop with iron and your heart with chocolate,
Fold your arms to the white of the priest’s habit,
Shake your hand with the blah-blah of your nation,
Do your job and hang your hat on a bomb,
And wait in patience for the extreme unction.
The hourglass distils sand dunes in a desert
And waits for an avalanche to descend the mount.

It’s no go Lord Jesus, it’s no go the Prophets,
All we’ll do is to nail you on our profits
And fall on our knees, content and worshipful,
And await our heaven and the fattened bull.

1.      Louis MacNeice,  The Bagpipe Music
2.      T.S.Eliot, ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
3.      William Butler Yeats, ‘The SecondComing
4.      Dylan Thomas, ‘Do Not Go Gentle IntoThat Good Night

Further Notes
The above is an expurgated version of a poem I wrote about 20 years ago.  A brief conversation that took place today among four persons including me reminded me of this poem.  I had expressed my view that most religious people use religion as a mask for concealing their misdeeds if not crimes.  People who do not believe in God and know why they don't are usually honest in their thoughts and deeds.  It is because they are honest that they find it difficult to believe in God.  Such people tend to do good to others while the religious people tend to exploit others.  More interestingly, such religious people focus on the beauty of the pronunciation in recitation of prayers more than the spirit of the prayer!

If I were to write this poem today it wouldn't be the same, the expurgation notwithstanding.  Twenty years cannot pass without altering one's attitudes in many ways.  But I wished to revisit this poem because the conditions which forged it are very similar to those that I'm experiencing now.  


  1. Religion if not taken in true spirits always outcome evil and in today's world most of us take religion for exploiting others..
    Very Beautifully put...

  2. its just a shield to benefit with it , behind it .. its a shield .. behind which the worst of human intent is protected.. as you rightly mentioned in the note, sir, they who do not believe the existence of Almighty are rather more clear with thoughts and acts!! Religion everything but the path to get God !! :)
    loved this , Sir !!

  3. As always, sharp and to the point. 20 years: so much change and yet so little change... I can feel the feeling of ur present context esplly in the hypocrisy in ur location now...
    " appease the thirst of the spirit
    That’s superannuated on a computer’s digit"

    1. Thank you, Deepesh. Indeed, I had never imagined that the past would reincarnate in the same ghastly way!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ankur. I'm indeed glad to see you return to my blog again and again.

  5. I love to read your posts with your somewhat critical views simply put with the kind of intellectual flavour one rarely finds in the posts of the so called prolific bloggers.I seem to feel a sense of piety in your apparent opposition to what is represented by God because of the intensity of your compassion. It is true that wrongs done in the name of God are too many and are prompted by our proclivities but there are many who love to say their prayers simply for the sake of peace and love.

    1. True, Kajal, my atheism is more spiritual than the religion of most believers. Thank you for delving deep enough into my writings to understand that.

  6. True true true!!!
    Now I'm probably speechless or rather at a loss of the apt words which could define my experience as I slide down your piece of poetry..
    Loved it!!
    Especially "I look like a scarecrow scared of crows,
    Baffled by the tumbling turns of the tide,"
    and "Fold your arms to the white of the priest’s habit,
    Shake your hand with the blah-blah of your nation,"

  7. After a long time have come across a blog which makes you enjoy reading and appreciate the depth in the writing. In today's instant-noodle and instant-gratification times the writing mostly dwell on the surface. Glad to read your posts which touches upon the sublime so well. I have noticed in the blog-sphere English is fast being replaced by its colloquial (Indian) form.

    1. I'm an aging man, Bushra. That could be the reason why I escape the superficiality of today :)

      More seriously, thanks for the appreciation. It does matter a lot especially in my present situation (which is reflected in the latest posts.)


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