Sunday 14 July 2019

Small my footprint


Not even the fringes will do, because
they are no longer safe or sane, unquiet
stalks me everywhere on earth, day and night,
upends the natural order, the laws
of compassion and civility. Pause
the diatribe, switch off that awful might,
the cameras, the cross-hairs of those rifle sights.
Hubris can't win unconditional applause.

But I'll escape deeper, further inward,
beyond the fringe, beyond the last desert
into forbidding terrain, but I'll cope.
I'll burrow with the antlions into hope
where the sharpness of neither steel nor word
can pin my silhouette within their scope.


But for now I'm here, and I'll stand my ground
however small my footprint, or how quick
the winds blur it. Unapologetic 
I stand here, and no-one will beat me down
with a mandate. They've been voted, not crowned.
The seasons, moons and success are cyclic
and that is that. There's no template, no trick
to avoid change forever, it will come around.

For now I am here, and I won't submit,
this is my patch. Here the sands don't permit
creeping flames, because there's nothing to feed
a fire, no undergrowth, no grass, not a reed.
Can't burn or stamp me out, can't try it -
a waste of matches for they can't succeed.

A few days ago, I shared a new Indian opposition MP's eloquent speech on my timeline with the tagline - the quality of your democracy is directly proportional to the space for dissent...well-said, lady! 

A couple of FB-friends who are avid supporters of the PM didn't like it, they thought the speech and the MP were anti-national, and by association I was too.  The assumption was illogical and they lapsed into rudeness and personal attacks when they couldn't win the argument. 

I generally stay away from politics on any social media, but...I do object strongly to incivility and shouting down. I don't approve of rudeness and rough language. And I totally don't approve of erosion of human rights and freedoms. I don't care a fig what size mandate you got. If you can't take care of your minority rights, if you can't take criticism, if you don't allow questioning or free thinking, you have no right to call yourself a democracy, largest my foot.

And today is Bastille Day which is a good reminder for all democratic people and their leaders. So I thought I'd share the verses here for the occasion. The universe's timing is always faultless, no? :) 


  1. An emphatic YES from here.
    How I hope that those with small footprints and quiet voices don't have hope bludgeoned and bashed out of them.

    1. Bludgeon and bash seem to be the MO everywhere now. Can't stand the incivility.

  2. Hari OM
    Nila - I couldn't agree more!!! In so many countries at the moment, politics has gone bombastic and dictatorial, including here in the UK. Those in the 'big hoose' seem to have lost touch completely with the ground-level... YAM xx

    1. Yeah, majorly depressing the viciousness and cluelessness prevailing right now.

  3. Politics is tough and wearing on the soul these days. But I like this poem and I have to keep the idea of small footprints counting. We just can't be beat down by the insane chatter of hatred. Excellent poem and thoughts, as always.

    1. Politics is wearing and the first impulse is to disengage from the rudeness. But that allows the haters free reign to spew their hatred unhindered.

      Thanks Joanne, hope your week is going well.

  4. I have no sands to flee to. I'm surrounded by combustible material.

    The specific, local situation is depressing, and that it's worldwide... I so wish it did not seem so hopeless.

    1. It is worldwide, and it is disheartening. I'm trying to guard against hopelessness though. This darkness too shall pass.