Broodings Of a Poet
I helped two school children cross a busy street one day when I was just about my business but when we were done they ran ahead, not glancing backwards, like I was some phantom. Then I moved on anyway, heading to the bank and there I met an old man having a hard time filling his slip. I helped him out but when I was done he snatched the papers from me with a grunt and moved as fast as his weak legs could carry. In a bus when I was heading home, a young man dropped his wallet fat with green notes and other important paraphernalia. I picked it up and handed it to him. But he took it without making a reply.
Midway as I approached home, I met a chorus of singers praising a gaudy project and on the vendor’s hand, unworthy men grabbing a huge chunk of attention. Little wonder the heart grows weary of good doing since evil gets so venerated and character is ignored. But amidst it all, better to be ignored for character than be praised for lack of it.
Do you see that sad old man aging alone, with no child or grandchild tending to his needs, but only flies revolving round him in an orbit, as if he were Jupiter? That’s a youngster who refused to share his life. For as he ignored others in his hay days, so shall he be ignored in his latter days. I knew such a man. He was very rough and tough. He prided himself in being low on romantic inclinations. Love was such an unworthy task in his to-do list:love for his woman, his sons or his community; and he allotted such a tiny amount of time to it.
He smoked alone, snuffed alone, drank alone and hid his money under his mattress. He wouldn’t even let the community bank keep it. When he eventually died, his sons wanted to have a quiet burial ceremony but when they lifted the beddings and saw wads of recent currency, they changed their minds and made the occasion flamboyant.
Today he shall be laid to rest and mourners would eat the food he never let his money buy him. They would buy rolls of Ankara with the same pattern, for sake of uniformity and wear what he never allowed his money buy him.
Here is another evil I have seen under the sun. They marry and have children, not because they love children but because child rearing is a responsible thing to do. Moreover mouths would wag and in-laws would bicker if the cries of a child took too long in arriving. But then, they grow old and ill and their children send for them to come over to the city so that they can be looked after, not because they love their parents but because…it is just the responsible thing to do.