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An Ancient Pain

Here is a poem that I wrote after my father's death.




An  Ancient Pain


Forty four years and nine months ago

In a dimly lighted room,

In a cosy little cottage in  Bengal,

My father had put half of me into my mother’s womb.

Other half of mine was waiting within her ever since

She was a new-born.


Nine months later I landed on this earth’s bosom.

Since then forty three Novembers

Have come and gone.

My father has been there

Sharing with me the songs of rotating seasons.


Many fathers have died all through these years.

But fool was I to believe

that mine would always be there.


This is my first birthday

After my father’s death.

Now I know what my father must have felt,

On his first birthday

After his own father had drawn his last breath.

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Dear Dilruba,  I just read this poem for the first time. As with your other writing, mainly List Of... and A Theft it leaves me with questions. Surprises. I told you I would have questions but I'd like to address them through the more private connections box -- you know what I mean.

But the poem was very nice and said interesting things, ways of looking at death that I never would have thought of. Also life. I don't know if you place any credibility in astrology. I have always seen certain things about it that for me ring true. But I gather that you were born in November. Would that be Scorpio? Certain things I've read about Scorpios seem to apply to you. I will return to your poem now and spend a little more time with it. Feel it more rather than just read it more. If that's the right way to put it.

--------- Charlie in New Jersey 

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Ancient Pain

Dear Charles,


Thanks, yes, I was born in November. Let us speak on my ordinary mail. I have now restored it with the help of Google Technicians. They were very helpful.

I know I promised to write to you earlier, but life has been very difficult lately, but I am getting back on my feet. I hope you are well. 
Thanks again,





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I'm surprised. I'd think just the last few days would have you completely occupied -- hacking, etc. The stresses of the techno age have come on too quickly for ordinary people to adust to them.

But I know you were ill and I do hope that has passed. What did you think of my somewhat facetious title -- Safe In Sweden? I know the phrase was a great relief to me. Is it apt, though? I don't know. You've had an unusual life.

Anyway, don't ever feel stressed about getting back to me. I'm always glad to hear from you but I know you don't spend your time watching Dr. Phil and eating butter creams.

I'm reading Malala Yousafzai's book. Slow going because of other interferences. But when I finish it I'll put a review on RR. I'll alert you.

Be well, stay well, wishing you all the best, Charlie

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ancient pain

Diluba,  Just read again Ancient Pain. My previous remark that the poem was "nice" seems now insipid. However, the first time around I did get the haunting depth of it. Maybe thinking that our parents will always be there is a gift. In the same way that we don't feel the full impact of their passing all at once. My father has been gone since 1957 and my mother since 1974 and each year I'm more aware of their true essence, their greatest strengths. When I think of them they're there, here. As I come closer to my own passing more and more I join a long parade in which they and all their ancestors march. I think Ancient Pain makes these parades seem less random and accidental. Something like that. ------------ Charlie

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Dear Charlie,

I will make time to write to you this weekend. I am sorry I have kept you waiting. I appreciate your comments and thoughts on my writing. 

Thank you, Dilruba


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don't worry

Dilruba, Don't worry. Whenever you have time it's always good to hear from you. I get more involved in your former part of the world and adjacent areas. It's all confusing and complcated but not so much as it once was. I pray for them all. All the best ------- Charlie