Shahriar Shahriari

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Poems - Critique of Society - Group 9
ii. From 1sr class to 4th class

 

Luxurious
Cool, joyous
Room to sleep
Resting deep
Dark it is
Comfort, bliss
Relaxing
Non-taxing
Next morning
Sun dawning
Clean washroom
Mop and broom
Breakfast good
Hearty food
Better believe
Gently leave
All respect
What prospect
For reporters
Mobbed by porters
Regal, majestic
Although plastic.

That was first class, but now I leave
For the fourth class loaded I heave.
Try to ascend and enter but the door is jammed
People everywhere inside, thus the door dammed.
Two people stand and slowly shuffle
The door gradually opens, I join the rabble
The warm and moist air front hits my senses
Sweaty bodies everywhere, I raise my defenses
All are accepting of me though I look so different
Funny looks they give me and back to normal, irreverent
There is only room to stand among the compacted twisted bodies
Some are sleeping, some awake, some dazed, joined like buddies.
I glimpse at the seats, overflowing with limbs and heads
Dangling, hanging, reaching, pushing, no one dreads
The discomfort of neighbors, nor their pain
More than a sleepless night spent standing in the train.
Two steps from the door I stand, unable to move further in
Outside a sea of eyes peering from mingled bodies; concerned observation within.

This was a wish of mine to travel by Indian trains fourth class
Standing up all night instead of lying on my ass
The sign says this carriage seats only fifty
And at a glimpse I count fifty times three.
Every now and then somebody slowly moves a limb
Like jelly fish, finds a little more room lying limp
Sleeping half awake, rocking to the motion of the train
I was standing astounded, over-working my brain
All of my senses beheld the unique astonishing sight
They gave me sadness instead of worry and fright
For the people had resigned to sleeping light
At three past midnight, with lights shining bright.
In an accident or in case of fire
It was a death trap, none could retire
Neither escape this hell, nor could help hire
No matter how many with unfulfilled desire
And it was sad for none would aspire
To leave this hell, raise their standards higher.

My comparative analysis
They justify life as it is
Heaven and hell pulled by the same
Locomotive, formed one train
This is the nation's mind frame
Attempts to change are in vain.

The cause of this insanity
Undignified inhumanity
Treat them all with dignity
Draw out their integrity
With one change of attitude
Without blame or platitude
With heart felt gratitude
Challenge the people's aptitude.

Then first class remains the best
Its passengers will feel blest
And fourth class remains the last
Yet all of them unlike the past
Will treat all with humanity
Put an end to this insanity.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
April 26-27, 1997


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This page was last modified on Thursday, September 30, 2004.