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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 45 New Delhi October 27, 2018

Oh No, Not I

Sunday 28 October 2018

by Pandurang Vombatkere

We roamed this earth once wild and free,

We lived on fruits and wild honey

And meat and nuts and roots and leaves;

We prospered from Nature’s bounty.

Then we grew clever and used our hands,

No more wandering in forest lands;

We grew our crops and reared our beasts —

This was the end of our nomadic bands.

In time we created wondrous things,

To ease our lives and swell our stores,

And as we grew there began a strife

That became for us a way of life.

Strife against our fellow men,

For gold, for land, for slaves to work,

For King and Country, Queen and State;

And strife against our Mother Earth.

We carried weapons made of steel,

And cut the flesh of other folk

And cut our Mother Earth to find

Some Holy Grail of which some spoke.

We killed, enslaved, dug and mined,

We grew in strength and size and greed,

Blinded by the mist that made

It hard to tell desire from need.

We now live in a modern world,

Where things may seem so clean and good.

But if we look beyond our pretty lives,

There’s much more to be understood.

Along with crops we’ve grown suffering,

Along with gadgets, invented cruelties

Along with the stars we’ve discovered that

We’re a species with great frailties.

Now our world has started dying,

Now we see what could be wrong;

Now’s the time to change our ways,

But can we be so good and strong?

Who’ll use less water and energy,

And stop using plastic too?

Who’ll see we need to change the way

Everything in life we do?

When it comes time to change the world,

For most it’s a reality far and faint —

A trend to text and tweet around,

While the weary world we further taint.

Will I ever begin to see

That change must always start with me?

Will I try to find out why

Things haven’t changed? Oh No, Not I !

Damn and bebother those bleeding hearts,

Naysayer Luddites who want to hold

Us all back in a ‘modern stone age’

‘Stead of flying towards that Pot of Gold!

The world must change: pollution’s rife,

Terrorism, wars and other strife

Ravage the world; it’s plain to see:

The sorry state of Humanity.

But will I sell my car and walk?

Or take a train when I can fly?

Will I dare to inconvenience

That fussy, greedy creature,“I”?

Will I ever begin to see

That change must always start with me?

Will I try to find out why

Things haven’t changed? Oh No, Not I !

Will I see that we’re all born

As Humans first, and only then

The labels come, that fast and hard

Bind us to certain other men?

Will I see that love’s supreme,

And all we need to live as one?

Will I stand or will I run

When threatened with a pointed gun?

When it’s time for us to change,

We always look to left or right.

When it’s time to take a stand,

It’s always someone else’s fight.

When it’s time to raise a voice,

Reputations are remembered quick.

When we’re called to join the cause,

We conveniently call in sick.

Will I ever begin to see

That change must always start with me?

Will I try to find out why

Things haven’t changed? Oh No, Not I !

Will I act, or at least try?

Will I change? Oh No, Not I !

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