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March 9, 2009 / zanzi

The Moment Never Passes

“cool heads at the service of warm hearts”, they say.
there have been some casualties, they say.
the free market is a self-regulating creature, they say.

but we have heard and seen differently, all of us.
we know of a reality that governs the lives of billions.
some of us know it in the battle of every day.

“this century’s wars will be fought over water”,
i have heard, and i regard it seriously.
what does it mean – to regard such a thing seriously?

what is it to trade carbon credits in food crops?
this touch, flowing over my fingers and palm,
the gulp and splash on the face, just off the field –
there is nothing we need to learn in this,
nothing new. we have known it all along.

the face of a child knocking on car windows at junctions –
there is nothing pretty about the picture of destitution.

i would like to believe in an invisible hand –
they tell me believing makes it so
but it isn’t early any more.

a cool head does no good when a stomach burns
or when a dried up body falls down dead,
making a grating noise as it slithers to the ground.

hollow, exclusive and cold – like an air-conditioned room
we have forgotten what we know all too well
we cannot leave behind.

the gushing roar of the sea reminds us.
a stranger’s gate on a parched sunny day reminds us.
simple truth is in every little detail.
“wisdom come at us from all sides”
but “what is essential is often invisible to the eye.”

then people from the world over converge
and the heart must quench a thirst
reason cannot understand.
the powerful fist must open its palm in blessing.
a mighty hand must learn how to be gentle
and wipe away
the stain of dried-up tears
from a protesting face that has been silent too long.

look that face in the eyes
and project its voice.
project it deep and clear, far and wide
for it will resonate of itself
and the soundness of sincerity.

Written moments before the Pan-Asian Water Colloquium closed, read out as the last speech and captured on video by Kailasam, who was documenting the event. A shout-out to Milind Brahme for the title – words he said to me – words that made it happen.

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One Comment

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  1. poetry666 / Mar 9 2009 2:16 pm

    impressive, makes me thankful of what i have

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