The silent man – C.K. Mathew, Former CS, Rajasthan

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And so in my sixty-third year,
I feel the strength of my verses ebbing;
Where once I could shout with written words,
Which, flung to the winds, resonated with thrumming voices,
Now those self-same words are pale and barely living.
It is not that my powers have failed,
But the alphabets have lost their mighty strength and roaring.

How little my words speak now: watery and light, insufficient to the need.
I know a picture tells more, a thousand words, though it be unvoiced and unlettered.
But my words? Inadequate tools struggling with metaphor and image,
They falter and stumble, barely revealing meaning to me.

The white spaces between the letters tell more
Than black scrawl of ink or type face.
There is more meaning in silence.
These days I understand more, know more,
Wisdom growing with the salt and pepper in my hair:
But what I know, remains mute within,
My thoughts bound down as a prisoner, with no winged words to fly.

I am voiceless, inarticulate: this is no writer’s block;
But the slow and steady knowledge
That my words have but a fleeting grip,
In the face of my vast inadequacies.
These days I shout in an airless room
And my breath runs out before I can cry.

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