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Who Am I?

‘What a piece of work is a man! ’
……… ………
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? ’

From Shakespeare, through Hamlet
It rings down to generations
And falls heavily on my ears too

In vain, I attempt to probe into the mystery
Nay, the enigma called man
Both in the silence of my solitude
And in the learned circle of pundits

(Fool…..
Unable to find who you are
Can you venture to say who the other man is?)

Man, a jumble of contradictions,
I know….A hard nut to crack!
So unfathomable, so mysterious
At once a Satan and an angel

To the outer world I am someone
But in the well guarded cellars of my privacy
Aren’t I different?
Hiding my innards to light
As every other man

At times, I feel so proud
Excessively in love with my own image
Like Narcissus, the poor hunter boy
Fated by gods to languish
On the bank of a pond,
Over his own floating image!

However with all my strength within
Do I not feel as helpless as Prometheus bound?
Waiting for a Hercules to come
And save me from my plight
If Prometheus’ bondage was God willed
Mine is self willed…! Is the difference so very crucial?

Sometimes I feel I am Janus
Looking backward and forward
Into my past and my future
Never living in the present
Or am I more a Sisyphus
Eternally rolling a rock over to the cliff
From where it keeps falling down

Sometimes I wonder
Amid the splendour, do I not starve?
Like Tantalus of Greece in the pool
Beneath the tree, with the low lying branches of fruits
Constantly eluding his grasp
And the water, ever receding before
He could take a drink!

As a poet how I wish I could
Equate myself with Calliope
Carving my mind on the wax tablet
With stylus, my pen and coloring it with my fancy
Or Orpheus, so skilled in music
That with my sad musings
I can make even Hades weep
And the rocks fall in line

I shudder to be a Medusa
Turning everyone to a stone
With my sinister glance!
Instead, I want to be one of the Graces
And never one among the Gorgons

Pitched in this gallery
Of queer mythological entities
I wonder how I appear to others
And whom I resemble more!

Submitted: Monday, January 27, 2014
Edited: Monday, January 27, 2014


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I invite you for a ride through Greek Mythology

Comments about this poem (A Journey to Bethlehem by Valsa George )

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  • Ed Nigma (2/16/2014 5:09:00 PM)

    You are all of the above existing simultaneously whilst only grasping onto particular moments and living through those perceptions of thought with feelings accompanied at that moment whether it be in times past, present or future it is all taking place at the same time. This is a poem of a human grasping at pieces of eternity while trying to understand eternity in it's fullness and I love it. This poem is bright and imaginative and each line is compelling you to read the next. Well done Valsa!

    Allan Gerard~

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  • Soulful Heart (2/6/2014 7:04:00 AM)

    Thru this poem u look like a poet that will dwell in the golden books of literature..so beautifully mythical characters have been reflected in humanity around and self..... great poem

  • Shahzia Batool (1/30/2014 12:54:00 AM)

    I am humbled as i am but a student of poetry and criticism, and my li'l scribblings are just an entry ticket to stay among the learned people and teachers, and all my accounts are not for posting and exchanging but learning from all of you and representing my country by my writing...many thanks!

  • Valsa George (1/29/2014 11:55:00 PM)

    Hmmm.... Shahzia... over and over again.... I must repeat the same statement about you... you are such an erudite CRITIC! Such critical depth, I wonder if anyone else here has! This is not 'reciprocal eulogizing'! Your additional illumination on Janus as double faced adds more to the meaning of the poem... Honestly I didn't expect much from this poem... I feel this poem is made outstanding by the comments it received from many particularly Dinesh and now you! Thank you! !

  • Shahzia Batool (1/29/2014 11:34:00 PM)

    A new addition to My Poem List!

    ...........And falls heavily on my ears too Valsa ji, yes you are right that probing into Man's enigma and mystery is in vain, i include myself too into all this confusion and chaos; Can you venture to say who you are yourself or can i say the same for myself? Man is a jumble of contradictions, because Man is subject to situations, the circumstances that vary, and Man's being is composed of two major abstract substances, general disposition and moods, both stay in contrast together, most often our nature or disposition is different and moods are different, we force, we coerce, we subjugate ourselves many times most unwillingly, i can't even say that we are justified but we are what we are, if we accept Man is Man, the same liable to err being, he is not neither an angel nor satan though behaving sometimes an angel and sometimes a devil, sometimes both simultaneously, what we need while staying together is just to develop a clear understanding of each other...Getting enamoured at our own image varies from person to person, some have this humor high some low, but all have it in veins, indeed...feeling helpless as prometheus bound and waiting for Hercules carries some touches from the areas of the present plight, and the concepts of resurrection, armageddon and the final hope for salvation...(i don't know it's right or wrong but the first read rendered all this to me) , i just wish we could understand the essence of fate and free-will so connected to our lives...We are janus not only in looking backwards or forward but in being double-faced hypocrites too, sometimes we take it as an obligation, sometimes as a compulsion, but we are bound, we are bound not only by Fate but by our own Free-will which we don't understand, we need a second hard check over us who should tell us whether we are exercising this free-will in a right manner or should we bridle ourselves before this self-willed freedom engulfs us into nothingness...the question raised in the end I wonder how I appear to others...compels me to click BACK TO TOP button to say again:
    ‘What a piece of work is a man! ’...
    @ lexicon and diction of this poem: it is embellished with classical, mythical images, so it appears abstruse or esoteric but even then it doesn't mean that everyone should write a homemade, within the reach poem, yes, such a work incites a curiosity to decode the greek obscurities to feel how closely they are connected to Man's life...
    @ your comments: accept it as something special for style, knowledge, and symbolism, though poet's modesty is important...

    regards!

  • Valsa George (1/29/2014 9:59:00 PM)

    Bri, how can you be so 'nasty'...... mistaking this one with the poem on Dementia and stop reading it mid way? ? ?

  • Bri Edwards (1/29/2014 6:21:00 PM)

    hey valsa, i was looking for the 'dementia' poem you mentioned. i guess this isn't it. i did not finish reading this, but thanks anyway! bri :)

  • marvin brato (1/29/2014 2:19:00 PM)

    GREAT METAPHORS...man is unique and multi-talented individuals, its a matter of honing for great purpose that counts!

  • Nasarudheen Parameswaran (1/29/2014 11:07:00 AM)

    A very good poem of archetype images.Very attractive.

  • Muhammad Ali (1/29/2014 1:46:00 AM)

    nice to ride...
    now these are symbols for us of worth and worst.
    who am i?
    is not it a life mystery!

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