The Optimist, Fundamentally One & Two Other Poems

by Arif Ahmad

The Optimist

“Dedicated to my mother, Ismat Bano and father, Abdul Majeed for teaching me optimism.”

Tough economic times, wars, famine, tsunamis, global melt down, moral and ethical dehiscence.

So is the glass half full or half empty?

Enough going on to sap the energies, to drain the enthusiasm. Enough going on to cloud common sense.

But wait.

It refuses to be a pessimist. It believes in the human will, the human resilience, the human rebound.

It believes in the human race to stand up and deliver.

Every human being to be counted and ask, how can it better another life, how can it make proud mother earth, how can it first do no harm?

It is the good Samaritan, it is the human spirit, it is a dreaming child.

The question is, can it become I, we, us, yet again.

Where are the Mandelas, the Gandhis of this Century

The pandora box of terrorism and a world spinning on its head
For our choice of dying which is a better death
From terrorism or as collateral damage
Either way if you notice
The dead invariably stay dead
Watching, waiting Gods, please look away
Show some patience, hold Your say
Wait till Your judgement day
Unless
We the chosen ones
You are confusing with angels
Lest You forget
We are not done killing our own
Not just yet
Whatever happened to kindness
The good old goodness
Thoughtfulness
Why is bitter the new norm
Where are the Mandelas, the Gandhis of this century
Fourteen years in, we are waiting, and so is history
Can you step forward and make yourself known
Before we ruin it all, before it’s all gone
These crazy proxy modern wars
With people dying on all sides
Some not knowing why or for what cause
If killing would make the world safer somehow
Wouldn’t this be a very safe planet by now
If wars were the solution
Where is the “lived happily ever after” conclusion

 

Fundamentally One

For all of our blood spilling differences,
How so different are we really?
The anatomy taught in medical schools,
Is it different for Muslims, Christians and Jews?
Don’t we all have the same workings, the same physiology?
The same disease processes, the same pathology?
Or does the appendix lay different for a Shia from a Sunni?
Or the neurons in the brain transmit differently?
Does cancer affect an Indian and spare a Pakistani?
Or Russians have two and Americans just one kidney?
Does aspirin work differently for a Palestinian and an Israeli?
That blood on the ground still some wet,
Is theirs red and them’s mulberry?
For sure the heart is where the difference has to be.
Well not really,
For I doctor the heart, and that is something I have yet to see.
So if all shades of skin are the same within,
Why such hate and to this extreme?
To me it does seem akin,
To darn our own self and damn our own being.
For we can hurt, we can kill, to our want, to our will,
And keep playing havoc,
On this tiny planet, this pale blue dot.
When all is, said and done,
We remain “Fundamentally One”

 

A Place Called “Nowhere”

Our minds clueless and hearts of stone
With eyes wide shut
We shoot at each other in the dark
Hoping to come close and bridge the gap
For every two steps forward
We take three back
Stuck in this fool’s paradise
And still hopeful to arrive
At the lofty peaks of love
Which cannot sustain life
Where there is no air
It is right there
Here
This City of Peace
A place called “Nowhere”

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