When I say this, friends

I say not to measure

Not to value

Not to preserve

Not to suggest

Not to rebuke

Not to profess

Not to confess

Not to advise

Not to admonish

Not to set example

Not to build metaphors

Not to contest elections

Not to win your contests

Not to ruin myself

Not to set you free

Not to indulge in nostalgia

Not to preach principles

Not to escape from you

Nor from self

Not to check proximity

Not to farther away notions

Not to fathom depths

Not to climb stairs

Not to succeed in attempts

Not even to make them

Not to rouse passion

Not to arouse emotion

Not to urge upon you

Not to make you ponder

Not to hurry the tortoise

Not to hasten the rabbits

Not to rule the earth

Not to impose ideas

Not to be immortal

Not to commit hara-kiri


This is just to say

That I say

Because I have to say


What I say is immaterial

It has lost its relevance

In a world where I am dead

The poet is dead

The lover is dead

The birdwatcher dead

The pacifist dead

The reveries dead

The thinkers dead

The reason is dead

The gandhi is dead

The che is dead

The abnormal is dead

The idiot is dead

The mindspace dead

The misfit dead

The voltaire dead


The statues live

The legends live

The myths live

The hero-worshipping alive

The worshippers live

The conformists live

You agree

And you live


I disagree


Do I live?

You say “no”

Or do you say “yes”?

In any case,

I disagree with you


When the non-conformists are dead

How could I be alive?

Is it the grave I created

Or you gifted

Did I accept per se

Or was it intentional


Let me live back

And I will answer


– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet