Shahriar Shahriari

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Poems - Critique of Society - Group 7
More Lessons of History

 

  1. Newspapers
  2. Mahatma Gandhi
  3. Mother Teresa
  4. A tribute to William Blake
  5. The Ant

 


Newspapers

Sometime ago I was quite bemused
To take up the paper and read the daily news
Read the story of the violent teenage
Who killed his mother just to quench his rage;
Of the Middle Eastern War, how each side tried
To kill others, retaliate for national pride
Organized crime in my city, local mob
Murder and loot, rape, abuse and then rob
Teenage gangs forming themselves into bands
Against every authority trying their hands
Corrupt politicians, few getting caught
Stocks going up and down, some sold some bought
Money market players with their games would trade
Making billions, for which common people paid
Then I looked at the newspaper's date
I was reading it at least six weeks late
So I picked up the paper for that day
Hoping different news it would have to say
It had news about the teenage outrage
Same play, different names, another stage
Continuing the same Middle Eastern war
This time different groups, again had killed more
More organized crime and more teenage gangs
Corrupt politicians with serpentine fangs
Stock market games, money market trends
Ordinary Joe his earnings spends
As though six weeks time had not made a dent
Newspaper world, same message had sent
Newspaper world, perhaps like pulp fiction
Feeds another kind of people's addition
Continues to feed us of our affliction
More of the same thing is its prediction.
Newspaper editors recycle, reuse
Though with different names, the same kind of news
I realized then all my time I'd waste
To read the paper, relaxed or in haste
I vowed to myself that I would refuse
To read any more the daily News.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
December 1, 1997


Mahatma Gandhi

In one glance I then knew
Why they called you Bapu...

Looking upon your picture
Like reading the scripture
The lines of your forehead
Of your wisdom much said
The gentle curve of your lips
A sad smile on their tips
Your two ears sticking out
I saw myself without a doubt
Your radiant head was bald
A guiding light upon the world
Even a halo your head surround
Your sainthood loudly resound
Grandfatherly eyes, gentle, sweet
Tears of my eyes compassionately meet
Yet they smiled all at once
Brought me joy not by chance
There I stood quietly weeping
Tears of my eyes my face reaping
And I stood bursting with joy
Playful, innocent, a little boy.

And your whole face I see
Lovingly speak with me
In one glance I then knew
Why they called you Bapu...

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
May 2, 1997


Mother Teresa

From the depths of obscurity
With a heart felt purity
Brought dignity to the slums
To the homeless and the bums
Calcutta in the world, as a sure
Beacon of light of the pure.
You preached "Love, till it hurts. "
Not just in gushes and spurts
But a constant love of all,
That became your life long call;
You won the Nobel Prize for peace
Yet you carried on without cease.
You were the Saint of our modern times
In the midst of our heinous crimes.
Though we have never come into touch
To my world you have meant so much.
When the world was busy with grief
You decided to make your life brief;
Into obscurity slipped away
Not waiting for anyone to say,
Our mother whose name meant charity
Epitomized spiritual clarity,
We commit your body to the grave
While your soul to God, peaceful, brave.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
September 8, 1997


A Tribute to William Blake

I saw the world in the grainy sand
And a heaven in the flowery land
I held infinity in the palm of my hand
And eternity in a narrowing band.

As above, so below
This is what mystics know.

As within, so without,
The New Age tries to find out.

We keep looking all around
Try fixing what we found.
So much to fix, so much to do,
What do you mean look inside you?
So little time, do you understand?
Why don't you give a helping hand?
Think globally, act locally,
Try to love unconditionally....

Try, try! They give me the guilt,
Nobody asks why so much we've built.
I stand apart and just say No!
Leave me alone and let me go.

I look around, I look within
I see the world in the mess I'm in.

Fertilizer, pesticide, insecticide,
Vitamins and minerals I put inside.
I protect the waters in reservoirs,
And no longer drink the water that flows.
I treat sewers and wastes, then to the sea,
I fast, take cleansers, what's wrong with me?
Giant cartels my agriculture,
Supermarkets my catering culture.

For Government ethics I have no patience,
I constantly put comfort above my conscience.
The justice system is falling to bits,
My own morality closely fits.
The medical system just goes for fixes,
I look for modern pills, potions and mixes.
Religious dogmas purely prescriptive,
My spiritual senses merely descriptive.
Hatred, crime, murder, hopeless brutality, what use,
Just reflecting domestic violence and child abuse.

Is there no hope for human kind?
Where must we look, what will we find?

The mystics answer the New Age quest
Forget Four Directions, North, South, East, West.
The moderns seek the light from outside in,
What a way to go, where do we begin?
The mystics found the light within
By looking in and seeing out, not outside in.
Forget the Whale, elephant and ox,
Fix the within, what paradox.

Follow your bliss, wisdom of old
By poet and mythologist told.
From Homer to the Holy Grail
All else futile, to no avail.
This joy is the God image of men,
Not study, action, piety, nor heaven.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
March 7, 1997


The Ant

Timourleng once had a story
In the days before his glory
Sometime before he became a general
In despair leaning against a wall
He saw an ant trying to go over the wall
But his every attempt ended in his fall
General to be, told himself this would call
To count the number of times the ant was willing to fall.
So patiently he chose to sit by that wall
And watch the ant go up the wall and then fall.
Sitting there our general tired grew,
The ant's trials counted seventy two
Before the ant managed to clear the wall
Triumphant and successful in his crawl.
Timourleng swore an oath that never would
Give up trying, like the ant understood,
Determination he decided was the key
Try, try, from his goal never ever flee.

One day partaking of the sun upon the beach
I saw an ant upon the sand, my foot would reach.
So I decided to learn what he would teach,
I kicked some sand upon the ant, his safety breach.
Recovering, the ant climbed out of the sand
Consolidating his foothold upon the land,
In the original direction, ant took his path
This time I drowned him in a sandy bath;
Out of the sand he climbed one more time
And moved away from the scene of the crime.
He turned away after two, he ran, he flew,
Not even close to Timourleng's seventy two.

I thought about both these ants, which was right?
Should I forget my path? burdens alight?
Or try and try, persistently, with might?
Was his flight smart and bright, or caused by fright?

They say that smart questions contain
Their own answers, seeking elsewhere is in vain.
Considering my own question I see
Unraveling it the answer will free:
If my flight caused by fright
Persistently try with might,
But if it is smart and bright
Then turn away, burdens alight.
And to determine which is which
Higher wisdom to me shall teach.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
June 7, 1997


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