The Void In Us All

This poem is based on a blog-post written by a friend named Aashna Iyer. Let’s just say, at the time of writing, I was suffering from chronic depression.


 

This is dedicated to the void in us all.

When you think about it, some of us are like trees.
We can dance at the merest chance of breeze!
Our leaves ogle at the sun; we rustle and flirt,
Though our feet are grounded in dirt.
We home the birds to lay their eggs and lounge,
And the squirrels for all the nuts they can scrounge.

And every moment, a part of us chips away,
Like flowers plucked for lover, now forgotten and stray,
Or all the heart-felt proclamations that daggers write,
Or the leaves that have always been visible in broad-daylight,
Just fall and crumble under footsteps, unnoticed.
You think the tree says nothing, so you just walk along.
But you wouldn’t notice if it broke into a harrowed song.

This tree can’t trust. This tree can’t sing.
Through the void, you can hear the ring
Of silence, where no one will every miss
The idea that someone, somewhere is…

(Pause)

That someone, somewhere just IS.
Merely existing, raw and unrefined.
“They’re smiling! They’re happy!”
No, they’re just being kind.
Because they are lost in the abyss of their mind.
Stitching broken dreams have made them blind.
They are lost! And no one dares to find
Them from under all the crumpled memories
And old-times that were once part of us,
But what we now call “Dust”.

And in here,
We frolic in photographs of days in mirth,
But the Compass doesn’t point North,
And we’re going back and forth, back and forth,
Like a broken record, or a confused clock,
While staring at the cradle that refuses to rock.

Back to the new-born kitten,
Whose eyes closed long before they could open.
Back to the sound of violin, playing from the neighbourhood window.
Back to the the hawker selling ice-cream near the school,
Back to the thrill of breaking every damn rule.
Back to laughter that never stopped, that made you choke on a glass of milk.
Back to those dinner-times, no matter how bad the meals themselves were.
Back to those lips which took your breath away and the breath that slowly kept time with yours.
Back to wind in your hair and everything else taking a back seat.
Back to the arms wrapped around yours, keeping you warm and calm.
Back to the stuffed animals that wore out from the stress of being your nightly protector, no matter what kept you awake at night.

You’ll find me gluing them together in the scrapbook of my song,
A memorabilia, to show me where I once belonged,
To keep us close to friends, who have moved on
To other pastures in stride.
And the grass ALWAYS looks greener on the other side.
But not here.

Because here, it’s all crumbling, bit by bit,
Pieces of our lives chipping away, before we can knit,
Leaving scars in our souls as an eternal reminder
Of all that is now gone.

What’s left is a growing nostalgic ache.
A bittersweet reminder, no matter the smiles we fake,
We’re still human. We thunder and we run.
One passionate storm of tears…
And we are done.

But we… are a freaking trees.
We nourish ourselves in every storm and breeze.
We can bloom anywhere, anyhow, without a word.
So let this silence say more than all that can be heard.
Let the rustle in the winds become your poem.
Let the poem seep into the pores of your being.
Let it purge all that leaves you feeling rudderless and adrift.
Let it fill your empty caverns with enough concern for another,
Constantly reminding you to
Shake the dust.

Because in the void, there’s only yourself to face.
It calls to nurture you in its endless space
With a chance to outgrow the scars in your soul,
And you think you’re getting stronger and stronger,
Until the silence cracks with the weight
Of three familiar words you hoped to never hear:

“How are you?”
I’m fine… I’m just… fine.

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