Sunday, 14 September 2014

[Poem] As flies to wanton boys...

 The title of this poem comes from Shakespeare's King Lear:

          As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods,
          They kill us for their sport.
                                             King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 36–37

What must it feel like
for a fish
to be in a tank.
With fancy names-
Corydoras, cyprinids, characids, darters...
Swimming, colliding, battling in a small space,
Feeding on timed crumbs,
seeing the world from a glass cage
watching a humanity that is free!
A captivating captive,
It's beauty its bane.

Is there
hope or despair?
What hope - but cleaning, feeding, mating  
Utter despair
Of life spent endlessly
swimming in a claustrophobic well,
Exercising in an artificial Hell
 flitting through false lights
 hiding amid plastic exotica...

Is my life too
A study in meaninglessness,
Immersed in a tank of air?

What is hope then and what is despair?
Cleaning, feeding, mating.
Who is my audience
And who do I entertain?
Am I "As flies to wanton boys..."
As Shakespeare might say?


  1. Beautiful. The poem itself is so beautiful, 'swimming in a claustrophobic well'. The last lines set you thinking, if I am a fish in a tank of air, who is watching me? who is controlling me and feeding me the crumbs? Wow, wow endless possibilities.... you pack quite a punch madam. :)

  2. Thank you so much Srinivasanji! You are always so generous in your praise!

  3. This is profound and deep....While most of it is about fish's life and yet it's not about fish :)

    If only we knew the answers to your questions, we can call ourselves gnani! Good poem and sets you on to some soul searching !!!

    1. Thank you Sridharji! Thanks so much for your appreciation, of the central philosophical question... Yes, how I dearly wish, we know the answers...

  4. This is beautiful. Yes, Aren't we all caged?

    1. Thank you Sutapa di! Yes there are cages, pens aquariums and what not! :)