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


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