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The glow hurts

The darkness burns the soul:



In lost open city

Distant lamps burn

So high

Dazzling bright

I cuddle into


The glow hurts

My eyes

But the darkness,

Burns my soul

Let me be happy

With the moonlight

And read books.

I rated this poem with five stars on the writeclique.net. This poem's simple imagery has a resonant voice.

The language is not only simple, but it is lyrically symbolic too.

The lamplight depicts the serious knowledge of big, yet lost in their ideologies, scholars who hurt the common man. That knowledge, sadly, is out of the common man's grasp. Darkness, so to say, is the 'no-knowledge'. It hurts too. Then what would Samodh prefer as the narrator? The moonlight. Because it is simply soothing.

I have met many intellectuals, though I am not one - poor me! I have seen how they live their personal life too.

The intellectual you see in the writings is quite absent in them in actual sense. I was frustrated when I felt it for the first time. And here someone is scribbling down that frustration - what a joy and thank you!

I remember one particular word - perhaps got to know at the college - 'Ivory Tower'. I looked up the Cambridge Dictionary again for the precise meaning: To live or be in an ivory tower is not to know about or to want to avoid the ordinary and unpleasant things that happen in people's lives.

What do we gain by reading? Our reading has two poles: academic use and entertainment. What is the use of mugging up thousands of academic theories, when you hardly put them into practice? I am tempted to ask this from many scholars of Buddhist Philosophy.

I have written down about many books in these columns, and someone could call me a 'well-read' person.

But what have I really gained out of that? Just like a tea cup - as a Zen parable says so - gets overflowing, our mind keeps on storing things mostly rubbish.

Am I right if I say this: more we read, more we become insensitive? We should go out and be with masses. Just like Parakrama Kodituwakku said, we should not compose lyrics on comfy settees, when disasters strike our neighbours hard enough.

The darkness burns our soul and glow hurts; we should learn to be happy with the moonlight - the middle path, that is

Once I requested a university don to make her somewhat high-flown language simple. She took it amiss.

"We are academics. We cannot write simple."

It pissed me at first, but I felt such a pity for her. I did not want to start a fight with this poor academic expat lady who came the whole way here from a foreign land. She was very eager to lap up every chance of publicity.

Writing simple and being simple is not automatic. You should cultivate that.

I realized this when I was in Trinco a few days back. Many so called 'no-gun' label attached NGO vehicles are largely roaming around.

The reason was simple. Trinco is the majority of Tamil speaking crowd as against the Sinhala. The task of brainwashing them against Sinhala is apparently so easy.

These NGOs lodge in comfy hotels, and do only a little to the well being of the mankind. What they write on their laptops is rarely what they gather from the common man. Nearly everything is fabricated.

What's the use of their scholarship, when they do not use it to the benefit of the common man? They will realize they haven't done much charity to the mankind, when they touch the conscience one day.

What about our own victims of brain drain? All those professors and doctors flee to other countries, and come here to criticise our semi-illiterate life style. Most of the scholars are not genuinely interested in the progress of the mankind.

I know the glow of learning hurts us most of the time, and we cannot remain ignorant in the darkness, because it affects us.

I share your frustration, Samodh, but is it practical to be happy with the moonlight and read books, in a world full of glow and darkness? - SM


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