The human mind is clever – and the human hand as well.
There’s much that they’ve discovered, as our books and stories tell.
But yet it is enslavement that our cleverness has brought
To most of us – who live and work, in nets and snare-traps caught.

a captive.

Image source: http://revcom.us/a/035/black-history-month-pt1.htm

The things that once had promise, at the time  they were invented,
To free us – these have each been turned to chains, by those demented,
Who profit from enslavement and the labors of the masses
And treat us, shedding conscience, much as some treat burdened asses.

We humans, we have tamed the beasts who’re used to pull and carry,
And also, we have tamed the ones, with names like Ping and Harry.
And just as oxen, donkeys, mules may labor till they die,
So also Ying and Larry might, believing in the lie.


Illustration for the poem Khuror Ko`l (The Elder’s Contraption) from the collection of Bengali nonsense verse, Abol Tabol, by Sukumar Roy. Image source: http://avikmukherjee.blogspot.com/2009/01/sukumar-roya-legacy-lost.html


And those of us who question this – and so are termed rebellious,
We each in turn are silenced – yes, by gentler means or vicious.
And so we see that humans work, yet more and more and more,
As some grow richer from that work – and stronger even more.

And though advances past had eased the lot of workers, now
We see these each negated – as we all, to magnates, bow.
We even worship them, as once we did our “godlike” kings,
While governments are bought and sold, by those on golden wings.

Those predators, they circle now, like eagles flying high.
They swoop upon their prey and then they climb up in the sky.
With all the world within their reach, with money as their claws,
They feed on men and women – and they write, for us, our laws.

They buy the public’s voices and they use these for their ends.
They mangle even children – much as eagle, rabbit rends.
So where there once was innocence, we see a child demented,
As everything is used on him, by humankind invented.



To Corrupt the Innocence, painting by Paulo Zerbato. Image source: http://www.artflakes.com/en/products/to-corrupt-the-innocence

Losing thus our children, corrupted in their souls,
What can humans live for, who once were cogent wholes?
We now are so fragmented, in selves and in a village,
That each is easy pickings, for those who raid and pillage.

Oh rise and be again what you can be, oh humankind!
To all compulsions be averse, to mindfulness be kind.
Oh wake and see what vice has wrought, let virtue be your king.
Of all that’s evil, be aware.  Of  heart and kindness, sing!

Desist from racing on the wheel. It’s time for us to slow.
The wheel’s a race to nowhere, save where no one sane should go.
Let’s join to break our fetters and to work for better causes.
From racing and its cruelties, desist!  Extend the pauses…

For only in the quiet times, can we begin to see
The qualities of mercy and our lost humanity.
And only through that leisure can we slow – and so regain
The sanity that we have lost, pursuing fruitless gain.

2014 July 2nd, Wed.

Brooklyn, New York



Arjun Janah has a PhD in Physics. He is a progressive thinker and poet who teaches high school in Brooklyn, New York.