A Pious Man

Pray not for aid to One who made
A set of never-changing laws
But in your need remember well
He gave you speed, or guile, or claws.
                                       – Saki (For the Duration of the War)

A Pious Man

He lived his whole life by the Book
The Lord commandeth, and he did,
If temptation ever came his way
From Satan’s path he hid

His friends, they were not evil
Merely boys having some fun
He would not follow, but sit and read
The tale of the Lord’s Son

If they did implore him to join
He would give them a scathing look
And warn them of the hellfire awaiting
As was written in the Holy Book

At a certain age, he began to feel
The temptations of the flesh
But he rid those thoughts, for in his mind
The Holy verses still ran fresh

He abstained  from material belongings
Except for necessities bare
For he knew this was the trap by which
Sin did man ensnare

Only one thought did consume his mind
That once he did feel Death’s kiss
He would leave this cruel and trying world
And sail off into heavenly bliss

He did deny himself of every
Pleasure that the world could offer
Thinking, “Every sin I avoid here,
In heaven will fill my coffer.”

All of sixty years he lived
A pious man as can be
Naïve man! He knew not
Of life’s great irony

For Death did come his way
And he breathed his last breath of air
But now his life is over
And heaven is to be found nowhere…

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3 thoughts on “A Pious Man

  1. Whattay poem. You ought to know as an artist that you have left me completely spellbound with this particular piece of “A Pious Man”. This particular piece beats even your own poetic standards and has pushed the envelope to a higher literary level..
    Great literature always presents a great line and thought that doesnt always choose to please the masses and maybe rebellious in that sense. It doesnt adhere to society's norms or a mass mentality..and does not follow any rules. It simply states a thought in its purest form and is often liberating and cathartic in that sense for it is often one of the first steps of acknowledging the lesser popular ideologies in our society that are often of high relevance in our world. And more often than not, atleast in my case, great literature has the power to open my own mind to my own perceptions and challenge them. It opens up a world within a world and tugs at our own inner conscience..and makes us question our own train of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and principles..

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  2. The reason, I say, that this poem is a “class apart” from your other works is because of THIS particular reason. “An overreaction”, “A romantic conversation” and “Mr. Terrence”..all in the league of your work of short poems…are good poems, in their own right, but they are similar in their narratives: they all speak of a specific tale where characters go through certain things and in some cases, they are even named…also, there is a strong “action” that is emphasized upon in each one of them (eg. murder) and all have a surprising twist in the end overthrowing all semblance that you had so carefully woven thus far.
    But with “A Pious Man”, you changed your own game rules. You gave power to ideology over action and stressed upon the after-thought. You did not feel the need for a shocking, violent ending like your other poems to leave a strong imprint at the end. What you shared with your audience was more of an after-thought of your own and your own musing questioning the concept of a “heaven” or an after-life in paradise. There is where I felt that the brilliance lay. It inevitably provokes the reader into thinking about their concept of heaven…a subject that is so subjective and so overwhelming in nature that most men seek to find an answer in their respective holy books and accept it as the blatant truth. In some sense, holy books too wouldn't be so holy if they didnt speak of heaven and God's own abode, dont you think?

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  3. So you take a powerful concept like that…and question God's pre-planned shelter for us all…and show us that we are no “children” of the Higher Power for that too could just be our mere assumption..and that by giving idealogy too much relevance in our lives, we forbid ourselves from living our own life in peace today. And all this was really just an after-thought courtesy your poem. And you did it too with much class and style..putting the ending quite simply which was the clincher for me:
    “But now his life is over
    And heaven is to be found nowhere…”
    The beauty, in some ways, is that your opinion there remains almost unquestionable and can only lead to further debating. And herein lies your genius for you state it quite simply and with crystal clarity. For the religious, it is their biggest fear and for the atheists and agnostics, this may well be that defining factor. And what strikes beautifully, hence, is your simple, to-the-point approach that tells the reader very clearly about your thoughts on the way this Pious Man has lived summing it up in one line at the end. And it is after the end that we realize that it is your take and presentation of the apparent idea of a Pious Man in our society and a sneak peak into your private thoughts on that.
    Hence, this piece is a great piece of literature. For even you would see how much it opens up for discussion after one has read this poem of yours. Always always a mark of a great piece – you know you have made an impact if you made your audience “think”. And with this poem of yours, you appealed to my thinking and the idea remained with me for hours as I continued the debate within myself…but surely, the seeds of this debate were lain by a most prolific poet we have now come to know as You ofcourse…

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