All the wrong reasons

At ten, I was writing
For all the right reasons.
Out of love for the stars,
Wonder for the seasons.
In tiny words, often,
Arranged in awkward lines.
If you’d squint just enough
You’d see they were rhymes.
Some I’d show to Mummy,
Her smile would light my day.
Some I’d keep for my own
Hidden safely away.

At school, I was silent,
Never had a voice.
Drowned by the bustle
Of those other boys.
Notebooks were my haven,
Didn’t beat me when I spoke.
The ruled pages told me,
I didn’t have to choke.
And then a teacher said
That I was writing well,
That I should keep writing
And break out of my shell.
So, as I turned fourteen,
I passed my poems around,
To the satisfaction
Of seeing them astound
The same boys who’d beat me,
Calling me retarded.
Their envy made me feel
Thoroughly rewarded.

At fourteen, thus, I wrote
For all the wrong reasons.
Gone were the starry skies
Gone the mango seasons.
I wrote fire and brimstone
And I wrote so I could
Make the others jealous
And make me feel good.
I thought I’d be famous.
I thought I’d be so rich
I could lay with the girl
Who I had called a b___.

Soon I was afraid, though,
Of who I had become.
Pride took a Dumpty fall,
When Karma came to hum.
I knew not what it was
When first the darkness struck
Was this an Act of God
Or just my shitty luck?
Writing took a new role:
It soon became my light
At the top of the well
And bottom of my plight.
Heartbreaks and failures too
Took their turns with me.
So, writing then became
My inner harmony.

And now I wonder why
I chose to make it more.
To forge a “career”
Out of my very core.
Showing the world my heart,
Showing where it pains,
What will I accomplish
And what will be my gains?
At thirty, I’m writing
For all the wrong reasons
That change with my moods,
That change with the seasons.
Money, fame, and power?
What does one do with those?
They too shall pass before
My life comes to close.
And then there’s that motive
That’s stayed with me throughout:
A wish for living on
After my time is out.
What is this ambition?
What arrogance at play:
To think my words matter,
To think they won’t decay.
Often my obsession
With this posterity
Stands in the way of
Sincere poetry.
Did Jane Taylor know that
Her simple lullaby,
Will shine on Mozart’s tune
“Above the world so high”?
Or did A. A. Milne,
That scribe of prophesy,
Know that a teddy bear
Will be his legacy?
So, why bother thinking
What work of mine will stay
In the hands of readers
After I pass away?

Only thing that matters
That I should take to heart:
To always stay present
And honest to my art.
Writing is my Bhakti.
My writing is my Tao.
My writing is my Zen.
It’s always here and now.

It’s always here and now.

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