THE WALL

a poem by P.K.N. Panicker, India

The Wall.

Did you say The Wall?

Which Wall?

The one which I see
day in and day out
built around the house
I stay in
or the Great Wall of China
of which I read a lot
or the Berlin Wall
built and demolished in recent times,
a part of unpalatable history
or the Wall on which
my bubbly , bubbly, grand-daughter
posts her messages to me
or one among the myriad
of visible and invisible Walls
between you and me?

Walls always do have a history
and most often a philosophy too;
Every Wall in one sense or other
is a symbol of assertion
of what is mine or ours;
a symbol of division
between me, we and you;
a tool, one among many,
to ascertain authority.

A Wall also creates space
for you and me
to paste posters,
stick news papers
and post messages
for the jay-walkers on the streets
who never bother to read
the writings on the Wall
and for the more serious
who always stop by
read and digest carefully
every word posted,
get consumed by the fire
inside the words,
burst into flashes of flame
to ignite the hearts
of every other passerby
groaning under the weight
of misplaced authority,
oppression
and violation of human rights and dignity
to herald Jasmine revolutions.

But then I am frightened
to see multitudes of Walking Walls
with postings none,
continue to exist
just as Walls –
blank Walls that refuse to be ignited.

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