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My Claim To Honour! - Poem by P K Joy

I’d been thinking
To be a very great man,
My attribute being poetry,
And my poems highly rated.
I had genuinely believed
That poetry is great gift,
Poet is a superman
And he was venerated.

I had discontentment
That I didn’t get the credit
Which I truly deserved
For my superior poetry.
Poets much junior
And close to political bosses
Got awards and honours.
For, they wrote base flattery.

So, when I died I wrote
An elegy on myself,
A long narrative poem,
Superb in its contents.
Carrying my dead body
I went around the city
Reciting my elegy
To my heart’s full content.

From gate to gate I moved
From street to street I went

At road junctions I stopped,
To drum up support in my favour.
I was firm in my resolve
To get my rightful honour
Which the state had for long
Overlooked to confer.

Sans any modesty
My elegy compared me
With many other poets
And stated my claim.
The elegy eulogized
And compared my talents,
Exalted my skills,
And extolled me to the brim.

“…………………………………………………..
Internatio nal poet …………………………….
……. Multilingual Poet ……………………..
…………….. Mystic, epic poet ………………
……………………. People’s eternal poet…
……………………………………………………
“In the untimely demise
Of this truly great genius,
An irreplaceable asset
The country has lost …”

I strongly recommended
To embalm my body
And preserve it well
In a befitting memorial!

And stoutly stated that
My body deserves to become
A global exhibit.
So, it’s foolish to do burial.

I told the spectators
That future generation
Will not brook the failure
To preserve this poet’s body.
This will indeed become
A tourist attraction
And a topic of research
For those in higher study.

People mostly ignored
None had time to listen,
with their own weight to carry
And wail of woes to recite.
Some mistook me as ghost.
They raised alarm and fled.
Ladies slammed their doors.
Urchins followed with delight.

A few said “schizophrenia”.
The kind said “poor man’s corpse
With no money for burial”
And offered alms in cash!

One let loose his dogs.
I ran with the load on head.
The urchins came to my rescue
Stopped the dogs with lash.

A scientist followed saying
“It’s an unusual phenomenon
To carry one’s own corpse.
A big case for research! ”
“Poor scientist! ”, I said,
“A poet’s ingenuity
Is beyond the scope of research
My realm you can’t reach”.

Jeering crowd couldn’t stop
My mission to assert myself
I went afar with the corpse
Singing and speaking aloud.
Determination impelled.
Ridicules couldn’t deter.
I talked to many a man,
While most tried to elude.

My wife and children came
Running to me and said:
“Your act is ridiculous
Money alone makes man great.”
I didn’t listen to them.
I said I deserve honour
For my fight against the unjust
And the great poetry I wrote.

At last came a trader.
Evinced interest. Asked:
“What is it all about?
Is it new ad for a trade?
“What’s this new product?
Is this a sample piece?
What’s your selling price?
Is it locally made? ”

“It’s a poet’s body.
One and the only piece.
Very special creation.
Invaluable indeed.
Spend a million dollars
Embalm it and display.
Viewing fees yearly
Could exceed tenfold”

“Poet? What’s that thing?
Is it human or beast?
In shape it looks human.
I buy human corpse.
That’s one of my trades.
I harvest and sell organs.
Act fast if it is human
Time you shouldn’t lose.”

I couldn’t control rage.
“Unlearned man”, I said
` “Dogs prefer stool to diamonds.
You flesh merchant, get lost! ”

The trader retorted
“Foolish dreamer, you
Don’t know the worth of money! ”
He spat in my face and left.

An old religious leader
Heard my talk and stopped.
He understood my claim
And then, gently said:
“Vyasa and Valmiki
wrote enough of poems,
which, for many millennia
All of us can read.

“Till now I haven’t read
Even a half of their works.
The same is the case
With every learned priest.
Hardly has any laity
Ever opened those books.
Then where is really the need
For more poems or poet?

“Embalming? We didn’t do
Even of great Vyasa’s body.
How will then we embalm
a minor poet’s corpse?
It makes good sense to bury
Both, the body and your poems.”
Saying much to my dislike
The priest slid back to his course.

Inwardly I rebuked
The fat religious leader
And went ahead undeterred
To realize what I wanted.
The next to look at me
Was an English language scholar.
Hopefully I called him
And my case I recounted.

He heard and sympathized,
Looked at me with pity,
Took my hand in his,
Heaved a sigh and said:
“Your claim is reasonable.
My good wishes to you.
Owing to lack of time
I can’t help dear bard.

“I’m a Shakespearian
I did research on him,
The self-styled litterateur
And arrogant versifier.
He’s been keeping me
Burdened all the time
As I do reviews of
Writings on this rhymester.

“Honestly I haven’t
Read any of your works.
Unless there’s pressure
Anything I don’t read.
Romantic young girls
Do read poetry books.
Approach some of them”,
While leaving, the scholar said.

The next to intercept me
Was a local politician.
I beseeched him to help
As a noble social cause.

Shaking his pot-belly
He scornfully laughed at me.
For settling old scores
He talked in filthy words.

“Oh, you dirty pig!
The so-called radical
Who incited a tirade
On senior political leaders!
Good, you stinker died
Prior to being killed.
You acted very smart.
I remember your lectures.

“Fool! You get buried,
Body and soul together.
How could you ever expect
This state to give you honour! ”
As he started his car
He spat on my body
In the shape of a wreath.
It evidenced his culture.

Next I met a poet.
He lamented my death.
He praised my poems
And hugged and kissed my chin.
“Why only you? ”, he asked.
“All poets have to be embalmed.
Go ahead and fight.
I’m sure you’ll win!

“I can’t join you now
My wife’s alone at home.
If I return late
In high pitch she will yell.
She is one person
Whom I really fear”
The poet said while leaving,
“We’ll meet in heaven or hell”.

All these couldn’t change
My firm determination.
I went ahead with vigor
And steadfast conviction.
Amused police said:
“For a frugal funeral
A good and simple style.
We OK this procession! ”

I met the Minister
For education and culture,
Forced him to hear my elegy
And asked for honour by the state.
“Sorry, my dear poet,
The state has no provision
For what you have in mind”
He said and left in haste.

People of all walks of
Life and vocations
Stopped, watched and heard.
None showed any concern.
“This is a dementia
That afflicts the weak victims
Even after death”
Was the general conclusion.

My walk went deep
Into the dark lonely night
Till I became weary
And the body heavier.
Refusing to admit
Failure of my mission
I went to the beach nearby,
To stretch out for an hour.

While in deep slumber
An unseen hand awoke me.
I saw none around.
But heard these soothing words:
“God is pleased with your
Conviction my boy.
You’re selected for
The highest of heaven’s awards.

“Not being a stooge,
It’s not easy to get honour
In this world mostly
Ruled by selfish men.

God had a purpose in you
You lived true to that.
You have honoured Him
So His honour for you is certain”.

The unseen hand raised me
A grave opened in front
My dead body fell into it.
Soon the grave got closed.
The unseen made me sit
Saddled firm on his back.
Then he rose to the sky
And flew fast through the clouds.

Grasping the unseen body
I fell asleep again.
I woke up to find myself
In a scintillating hall.
I was bathed and dressed
In glittering suit and gown.
Noble men and angels
Filled the ceremony hall.

In a resonant voice
I heard this announcement:
“God is honouring Joy
For good work done in the world.

His tirade against wickedness,
And growing inequities, and
Pursuit to ennoble men
Have greatly pleased the lord.”

Angels came to me
And escorted me to God.
He rose, embraced me,
And seated by His side.
A citation was read out
That praised me for my work.
The way it was written
Gave me much delight:

“…………………………………………………
The creator had a purpose.
You lived up to it very well.
You obeyed God’s command
And honoured Him everywhere.
For obeying God’s command
Men don’t give you reward.
Noble Man’s Award
For you by God is here! ”

God rose from His throne
And placed a crown on me
Shook my hand and said:
“Reward for honouring me”.
Fragrant flowers rained,
Drums and music rose,
Angels danced and sung:
“The Lord is honouring thee! ”.


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