Ananta Madhavan


A Song of Waiting


I rose at six O'clock
And hastened to Chepauk
To wait and see a Test Match, but rain began to fall.
I tried to hasten back;
Out for a ‘duck', alack!
I waited for a bally bus that never came at all.


I waited in a queue
From nine O'clock to two,
To pay my college fees before the penal end of term;
But when it was my turn,
I was obliged to learn
That waiting is no pastime for the bloke who isn't firm.

Thus life will slip away
In waiting every day,
And waiting has no ecstasies for me at any rate.
Still, some may be consoled
On being gently told,
"They also serve the Lord who only stand in queues and wait."

Submitted: Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Topic of this poem: Time


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Wrote this as an undergraduate,1952, for the college magazine's annual; felt proud it was printed. Scanned stanzas with a studied rhyme scheme, a wry echo from Milton's famous sonnet on his blindness in the last line.

Comments about this poem (A Song of Waiting by Ananta Madhavan )

  • Rookie - 87 Points Priyamvada Dilip Kumar (1/8/2015 5:55:00 AM)

    I like this poem very much. One does spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen. I like the gentle irony of this poem. This is truer of India today than it has ever been before because one not only waits for worthwhile matters but also for totally worthless things, such as a VIP guest speaker at a college function, who expects a large, appreciative (unwillingly captive) audience! (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 17,104 Points Valsa George (6/24/2014 12:22:00 AM)

    Life is lost in endless waiting....! What else can we do when fated to stand in long queues....

    Yes, They also serve who only stand and wait! I enjoyed the way you have adapted Milton's line to suit your purpose.....!
    If this poem had been written in your undergraduate days, it must be assumed that a great poetic gene has been active in you from teen years! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 37 Points Colleen Courtney (6/5/2014 11:33:00 AM)

    When you stop and think about it, we really do spend a lot of our time waiting. Must be the reason I bring a book with me wherever I go! Might as well learn something useful while waiting! Again! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 30 Points Yu-ying Lee (6/4/2014 3:02:00 AM)

    A really good poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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