Free

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I saw them dancing,
with abandon and
without embarrassment,
to a song tainted popular.
I thought to myself,
Oh how silly they are.
And it made me think
how small we are.
Satisfied and pompous
in our small worlds,
looking inwards,
cool and all-knowing.
We build around ourselves
brick by judgmental brick
walls of prejudice.
And not once
does it occur to us
that usually it is those
who are outside of walls
that are called free.

– nivedita agashe

A poem by Khushwant Singh penned at age 92!

The horse and the mule live for 30 years,
And know nothing of wines and beers;
The goat and sheep at 20 die,
And never get a taste of Scotch and rye.
The cow drinks water by the tonne
And at 18 is mostly done
Without the aid of gin and rum.
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then in 12 short years it croaks.
The modest, sober, bone-dry hen
Lays eggs for others, then dies at 10.
All animals are strictly dry,
They sinless live and swiftly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten,
And some of them, though very few,
Stay pickled till they’re 92!
So shed a tear, drink a beer,
Celebrate the past, toast the future and have a Happy New Year !

The Year

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

by
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1909)