Sabu Francis

Objects in the mirror

The drive was silent
The stares were straight
Lost in our thoughts

She thought we were late
She sat sad in one corner
I hunched on the wheel
She wanted to look better
For the evening meal
I tried telling her
You're still a steal
But my paunch's size
Didn't cut the deal
My car sped silently
Possibly wondering why
We humans always cry
At time passing by
It had even spelt out words,
words that she wouldn't hear:
"Objects in the mirror
are closer than they appear"
Sabu Francis

One Step Behind

As we walked silently
on the evening beach

A thought occurred to me

here were two males
both working furiously:

the sea caressing the shore
calming Mother Earth,
the land,
crushing all stones
into fine sand

And there I was,
a restless soul
softening rough spots
so she may walk on
the sands of our times

But all she saw
was the angry glow
of the sunset on the sea
Which reflected
a glint of regret
as she paused,
and looked at me
struggling with my paunch

one step behind
Sabu Francis

Closed Minds

My shelves don't have shutters;
books lay unbound, unfettered
They wander about the house
meaning beyond their covers

the guitar is not in its case:
it lay in the disarray
deep inside it, a tune;
struggling to come over

even the window is open:
bringing not just the light
but sparkling dust mites
tracking seconds, hours

Yet they say I am closed
Biased, opinionated, broken
For I am not like others
Keeping my stuff all so open
Sabu Francis

Quiet, Disquiet

my child and I stood at the edge of a pond
and marveled at the calm beyond
my child and I went to the sea shore
and saw restless waves going to and fro

my child stood in awe and felt haltered
by nature's different ways of handling waters
in his eyes I could see his confusion
and his mind was full of hesitations

so I told him:

some changes are not obvious my son
some obvious changes are actually constants
on the pond, a ripple would be disturbing
in the sea, any stillness should be frightening

so there are many answers you must seek
are you the pond ? or the sea?
and ask what defines a disturbance:
being a wave? or being acquiescent?

and when you are at the shore of a friendship
ask the same questions of the relationship:
is that person a pond? or the sea?
and what would disturb your sailing ship?

and once you know your answers;
to handle changes just remain well armed
for nature would know what do next;
and our souls will remain unharmed

though each of us may get disturbed
that is no real cause of concern
for a pond is always destined to be a pond
and we'll see a sea remaining a sea

for every change that does occur;
comes into our lives for a purpose
nature always has a use for any change
such is the way its meant to be

without ploughing the field
we cannot have our next crop
without action there can be no yield
as apathy can easily take us to rot

Hence even if there are ripples on the pond
or if there is fright from the sea
nature has a way to derive profit
even from the most mean turn of destiny

as you get older you would change physically
but what was once a pond wont become the sea
people around you may say you are disturbing
yet only that can bring true understanding

just keep asking these questions every year
and do things natural to you without fear
don't make the pond behave like the sea
or insist that the sea should be calm to see

you'll then move on from year to year happily
you'll then know how to age gracefully
don't waste time changing peoples' definitions
instead; expend effort changing perceptions

Sabu Francis

To a fisherman's daughter, on her birthday

It is early morning now
and I need to kiss you goodbye
I can see that you are sleeping so gently
as the ocean roars outside

I need to get into my boat before the dawn breaks
there is so much to tell you
your little palm holding me tells me to stay
as you turn into your second decade

I do smell of the fish I fish;
the thoughts that I have may not be enough
but all thoughts that are sincere
may still help you still your fear

I hope you will not listen to those
who point at the smell of fish from me
and see beyond into my thoughts I pose
and even beyond, to your inner self that you see

I wish that I can tell you all about you
but I am only a fisherman, not God
just as I cannot fathom the ocean blue
neither can I explain your thoughts

so I will tell you how I fish
and I hope you will learn your lessons yourself
because I believe each one is God for oneself
and only that God can tell the right from the wrong


I fish in my own boat
and each of my fellow fishermen too
we all fish alone; but in some sorts,
we fish together in this ocean blue

I push my boat into the waves
and that is the only way it can be
I can't wait for some magic hand
or I'll wait at the shore till eternity

the waves are there in the ocean blue
they have always been there; I have seen
I cannot tell the ocean to quieten
but I cannot also let them play with me

my little boat therefore cuts the waves
for only then I can go ahead
I need to cast my fishing net
and bide my time to pull in my lead

my little boat rocks with the waves;
all those happen naturally
even if some of those shakes
come from my fellow fishermen ally

for when we fisherfolk fish together
sometimes we are so lost in thought
that the wakes of our boats cross one another
and add to the waves, our own distraughts

if it is my boat's wake that caused the shake
in the other boat; I look into the other's eyes
and if I see anguish there
I reassure the other with a smile

for we are not here to place blames
for all the shakes that we create
it is the ocean that carries us
we can never carry the ocean

sometimes in life, a large wave
makes us gasp, gives us pain
but then that wave always passes
so dont place all further shakes to that wave

sometimes we glance at the other boat
and think we don't have enough
but all I need is my own boat afloat
what others have or not is naught

often as I sit alone in my boat
I think of taking on someone in
but with the rocking thats inevitable
it may be better to be without

I then sit and cast my net
and I then wait patiently
if I get some fish I can get some rest;
if I don't; I need to move quickly

I need to be always on the move
for the ocean is not still
and the fish that are within
are not waiting for my reach

I sit and do my work honestly
I also try to see the boats beside me
and I see if they need my help
and all that without a fee

that is how we all get our soulmate:
two boats that fish together
to bring the fish into our home
and to see your face light up

it does not matter what we fished
and how much fish we got
what is important that we did bring
whatever the net had caught

as I now walk to the ocean roar
I can see that one day you will grow
and you with your own little boat
I know one day you will row

I hope you will remember then
the lessons I tried to tell you now
you need not remember me then
what is needed is not "who" but "how"

I do need to go, you know
I still have so much to tell you my dearest
so I shall have to kiss you goodbye
before you row, you should have some rest

Sabu Francis

growth of a year

From the seed came the tree
from the tree the leaf
around the leaf the flowers
within the flowers the seed
the seed turned into fruit
the fruit fell downwards
some; birds took skywards
depositing them inwards
and there they all took seed
and from there they grew
and thence into saplings
who grew into adolescence
like so many other brethren
and then they all grew
and then came the grove
and in the grove some bushes
and once again came the tree
this time; sturdier genes
the old insecurities all gone
out, out with the old fear
the old tree gathered rings
the young ran around in a ring
and brought in yet another year
Sabu Francis

To Anna, When I caught her without a smile

Where are you, my daughter?
I think of you every day
You used to snuggle in my arms
And you would want me to say:

Where are you my daughter?
And I will then feign
That I did not see you
In your own little hideaway

Where are you now, my daughter?
Sixteen years passed away
In the split of a second
Before the light of the day

Where are you, my daughter?
You'll be a woman any day!
Hope you'll be a flower
Not burdened with worldly weighs

Where are you my daughter?
Not lost in thoughts astray?
I know life is sometimes
around the edges; a bit gray

In sometime you'll also have a child
When today becomes yesterday
You will then realize
The importance of what I now say

Every sigh can be a smile;
And a far mile an inch away
Just be what you are
Woes'll settle their own way

Don't wish upon a star
Or hang on to a pray
You are what you are
And that is good enough to stay

You will then be my sweet daughter
You will light up the way
You will overcome all hurdles
And your humour wont fade away

Sabu Francis

A Spark and a Fire

A child holding a sparkler blazing bright
Carves his name into the night
The father stands with a bucket of water
Hopes that his son will not falter
For a spark often leads to a fire
and that may douse his child's desire.

Oh, what a fine balance a Diwali is:
Intense burning ideas with everlasting peace
Sabu Francis

Reality Checks

My nephew picked up
in his gloved hand
some glittering snow.
He watched it
all magically flow

To which his kindly father;
my brother, said
all that glows
sometimes does
not stay nor grow.

The little child then
innocently asked
why the snow melted
in the freezing London heart

My brother thought to himself:

one day he will know
the cold will always end
in the presence of the
slightest warmth
Sabu Francis

Cross your river

Life, it has been tough
Leather, I've had enough.

My friends often call me
Say, why don't you
Do, what everyone says?

I want to tell them how
does one cross a river:
It's similar, not same
as arrows from a quiver

If I aim for that known
point on the other side
I need to swim and
go against the tide

For if I go straight;
always in a line
I will be taken ahead
far away by a mile

But if I fight the current
that force in vogue
I will hit the sweet spot
surely at the right time

If you perchance see
a boatman unqualified
he'll take you across
in an unusual route

He will point his boat
Not to a point across
But to a point upstream
To reach your exact spot

He will teach you
what this song is about
It's not about a river
It's all about a crossing
It's all about a fight