King Lear by Kumud Biswas SignUp
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King Lear
by Kumud Biswas
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  His pensions parceled out
Amongst his pelican progenies
Perched on a spare divan
Meant for disposable stores
And overnight guests
His cravings childishly wanton
But his sway circumscribed
The divestment now the pensioner repents
How by degrees his scepter slips
From his palsied grips
The fool under his prominent ribs
Pricks him all the time
What a manifold fool has this old man been.

Time for him hangs heavy and lone
The lengthening shadows of dying day
And owl-watched wakeful nights
But time to others so fast and fleeting
Busy in conquests and scheming
With no time to spare for him
And its changes are so breathtaking
What he thought was right is wrong
And what was wrong right
In his judgments he is ever so erring
The whirlwinds in changing landscapes
Raise a storm in his tempestuous breast
Holding his ground with all his grit
He feels he will get pushed over the brink.

Yet what a wonderful thing it was
To sprout into fresh being
To grow into full bloom
To love and be loved
To pollinate to fruition and fulfillment
And nursing a new life ----
But what portion is this
Now doled out to him
In his doting old age?
Does it not become an ungrateful bastard
Is it legitimately filial?
This stale piece of unleavened bread
And that late cup of lukewarm tea?
Did he ripen for this?
Or is rottenness all?

Yes, here everything rots –
The falling fruits and shedding leaves,
Neither regenerating nor manuring life
A poisonous putrefaction,
No purgatory but a wheel of fire;
Nor are they acts of wanton gods
But sin begetting sin
When the cycle turns full circle
It is one’s turn to suffer more than one has sinned.
This old fool in his youthful fooling
Forgot in utter neglect
The shriveled loins from which he sprang.
His father shouted the same curse
Which he shouts now.
Blinded by arrogance
He rewarded those who bore false witness
But overthrew innocents in judgement.
All these unmerited sufferings
Now find eloquence
In their perpetrator’s elemental cries.

This eternal pageant
Chiseled not out of legend but life itself
Is played on a perennial stage
And reason failing him in sanity
Insanity gives him a clear vision
To view things in their nakedness.
The tragedy is this
It happens not before Cordelia is dead.

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July 20, 2003
More By: Kumud Biswas
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