Black and tiny, it decided to
Separate from its tribe and hide
In the company of whites.
While the rest of its pack went about
With their businesses, fulfilling their
Purpose, it remained stuck in its place.
A place where none could reach:
Damp, dank and stinky.
Causing a mild discomfort to the
Owner of the place, for the owner
lost his empty space.
With strong muscles he tried,
But black and tiny, would not budge.
So much so, that when his muscles got tired,
The owner decided to give his muscles a rest.
But he never gave up.
The more he tried, the more black and tiny
Lodged itself into the owner’s property.
The owner was reluctant,
And would never give up.
And black and tiny, was adamant.
He would not leave.
Until finally, the owner, having no other option
Decided to use a weapon- a sharp needle
Which could go into the annuls of his
Teeth and get rid of the black and tiny seed.
With the seed dislodged
From between the teeth,
relief came over the
His tongue, now lonely,
Still searches for the seed.
I am blind to the perfume
of that which comes from the footsteps
of the past. I am deaf to the visions
that the future wishes that I peep
into. I am mute to the cries of
agony in the present.
And then there is no trace…
No trace that the Weavers Three had ever
woven a fabric so exquisite, colours
so rich and patterns so sweet…
It was all a waste, for the worms
have now begun to attack the memories.
Silence entrenches in the roots
and brightens the eye. The Two that walk
up to me with the elegance of a cat…
only better, with the majesty of a lion
and with the aura of a tiger.
And one of them looks at me kindly while
the other is shooting daggers.
The scary one claims my limbs.
His friend chooses my heart.
The Judge chose Mercy over Justice.
The call has been made
and I wait for our leader to stand.
It’s early morning
and we’ll never understand.
How long the siege shall last.
How long we’ll remain cooped up
in the annuls of this haven.
My heart has begun to stir up
emotional prayers. For the time
is ripe. The liars and the unjust
have for long been torturing us…
It’s a test of our faith. He surely must
have a thorough plan. The white
tower is in front of me…
How beautiful shall be his face.
I imagine what my eyes shall see,
As I walk to greet him,
That brightness in his face,
Better than anything else I’ve seen before.
His charm and his grace.
And then as I greet him,
He’d anoint and inform me of my
rank… And as I stand beside him to kiss
the earth. My soul shall fly.
And then, “Come to victory”, as he cries…
There’s rapture in my heart and eyes.
It was early into the 13th century after the messiah was born. In a small island north of Europe, the French had lost England. But the remnants of their culture were still to be found. The language spoken in that Island, which was predominantly Anglo-Saxon, prior to the French invasion in 1066, had amalgamated with French. And hence, Middle English was born. And while the words in Middle English had French origins, the poetry that remained largely took its roots from Beowulf; alliteration was the norm, rhyme was merely an ornament, fit to be worn by the Queen. Going beyond the fourth meter was an abomination.
And then, about seven score years later, a man was born, who would change English poetry forever.
He traveled across Europe, studied Dante extensively, learnt the romantic poetry of the romantic languages; and decided to implement the same forms in English. He dared. He stretched the meter… A language which is inherently beautiful in its brevity was stretched just a tiny bit. But he just didn’t do that. In his own words,
But trusteth wel, I am a swoot remarne,
And cannot weste Rum-Ram-Ruf.
Now these lines may seem to the casual reader as mocking the alliterative verse. But history is more profound than this. At the same time when Chaucer was busy composing his Canterbury tales, and singing the tales along to crowds who would shower him with gold, northwestern England saw one of the greatest poems Middle English has ever seen: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight- which, by the way, was alliterative verse.
So, when people argue that alliteration died away, it’s untrue. Chaucer helped kill it. Chaucer helped people shape their opinion through his poetry. And why would Chaucer do it? He was politically motivated. His grandson had a shot at being king of England through marriage, so that is indicative of how elite Chaucer was!
Fast forward seven centuries. What relevance does this bit of lost history have to do with our world today? Well, not much, except that the same tools which Chaucer used so many years ago to demean a certain group of people, is being used by the Empire today. True, the medium has changed. The means haven’t. Entertainment back in the day was poetry. Entertainment today is TRP ratings. So, when the media decides to coin words such as ‘Islamists’ in lieu of ‘Muslims’, ‘Islamism’ instead of ‘Islam’, we need to be wary. These words rhyme eerily with ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Terrorism’; words that have extensively and casually been used by the Bush regime and forward. And the sad part is that often times, Muslim media-houses get caught up with the same terminology! Just as it happened, all those years ago, when northwestern England was forced to believe that alliteration is inferior to rhyme!
France may have lost England, but English lost to French.