A skewed panorama
Never must we forget
what is etched now into the cornerstones of history
was once written on fragile canvases
by human hands like yours and mine.
Reins of kingdoms dropped on the way
picked up by sycophants of yesterday.
Sweetness of tongue splayed upon pages
when flattery became a life-saving shame.
Golden palaces or termite hills
or a shroud over decayed moral ills.
Benevolence and valour can even mean
nepotism and fantasia
translated in the mesmerising glare of glittering bait.
The true image drowned by time’s waves
re-emerging as heroism in twisted tales.
May the book serve as a beacon
in showing us the path ahead.
We often err in hiding behind it
for it never was, a shield for cowards
nor a walking stick of strong credentials
to bear the weight of human follies.
Let the mellow pages instead teach
the lessons which time forgot
in classrooms in the refreshing shade of a banyan.
‘O’ Eternal breeze! Do open our inner eyes!
©Reena Prasad Published in the anthology Indus Valley