One night to his teacher he asked
“O my teacher please do tell
why you call poetry a curse from hell”.
“Student! I see you are plagued by doubt
well this is how it came about.
When I could run as fast as one could
I once ran to a lonely, dark deep wood.
On that dreary moonlit night
I reached a grave and froze with fright
An inscribed stone beside it said
I don’t know why aloud I read-
‘Here rests the poet Oliver Scarlet
the man who reads this epithet
On that man I lay a curse
all his words shall be hence in verse.
But this shall be the fate of one, not all.
Right now on him a rose shall fall.’
Until this day I cannot tell
Wherefrom on me a rose then fell.”
“I was so happy, I cried aloud
O sweet lord! Beyond the cloud!
This is no curse ‘tis a boon I bet.
It ought to make me a great poet.
It was destiny I thought, as planned by god
Of some of my prayers, this was reward
I thanked the lord, and thanked the lord
My pen now had more might than sword.
I talked in verse
Good or averse
And all the words did rhyme
‘Cursed’ it said, I did not know
how poetry was a crime.
I spoke of love and the pain it brings
Then of some bell, in hell which rings.
I then spoke of some unspeakable pine
The words were from me, the feelings not mine.
I spoke of some cities, where I’d never been
The stories were different but everyone was mean.
I said there’s a devil inside every man
One should unravel it as much as one can.
Why ‘love to love’ and ‘hate to hate’
Lets ‘hate to love’ and ‘love to hate’
No such view I ever did hold
Yet ‘life is hell’ to all I told.
I never did speak of anything good
To this day, I wish I could.
Thinking of past, I beat my head
To a would-be bride, once I said-
‘Of friends and love you’ll find none
they all leave you when work is done
your beau is no different, so I can bet
why marry at all when you shall regret.’
The marriage was broken, and so was her heart.
From that fair city I was made to depart.
Some said I was great; just as emphatic
as those for whom I was a lunatic.
No poet some had heard, so eloquent
To asylum some said I shall be sent.
Some nights I woke up shivering O Dear!
I had none but my own soul to fear.
I wrote of some people I wanted to kill
I had never known them, I don’t know them still.
To all the world, how could I say
How I wished, this would go away.
The curse brought me fame but more distress
Let us not from the point digress…
My mind had no control, no thought.
It had since then begun to rot.
For what I said ain’t said by me
Using my tongue is none but he
I am his slave, scapegoat, his pet
Of the poet- Oliver Scarlet.
And in my heart no light does shine
‘tis just my body, the soul is not mine.
To stop myself from the heck I say
I thought I’ll just kneel down and pray.
I told myself- pray all the time
Until in the end god gives me a sign.
I begged O lord! Reverse the curse.
Stop it now, before much worse.
Make me cripple, blind or maimed
My rhyme and curse are the same.
What is a poem, but reflection of soul
Spread of hate, is not its goal.
That time I thought of none but god
And even forgot five days had passed!
The sun rose in front, to my back it went
At least I thought I had nothing to repent.
Then in my mind about to rot
After so long, sparked a thought.
‘what good is it really for the sun
every morn its back to where it had begun!
Then in my head I heard a crack
‘to where it began, I shall go back!’
that’s it! That’s it! This shall be it!
I’ll go to the grave on a night moonlit.
And so on the next moonlit night
I went to the wood and wished I was right.
‘twas all so eerie, cause nothing had changed.
I found the grave, it had there remained.
And so, to the grave, again I tread
I found the stone, on its back I read-
‘To the men of vanity
you shall tell your tragedy.
The curse on you shall pass away
to the one who asks of its next prey.’
“Alas! To whom the curse shall pass?
Tell me o teacher! Did anyone ask?”
“Ah! Now of the curse I shall be rid
none had asked, but you just did.”
“Oh my god! What assinity
how I erred I cannot see
O! my teacher I know you are great
please tell me my remedy, don’t make me wait.”
“Nay! Once in your body, his soul you hold
you shall yourself find out, you cannot be told.
Keep trying, God helps- this I have known
But on mother earth every man is on his own
Every man is on his own.
(written: summer 2004)