The Wasteland

This is a wasteland; the scavengers hunt on indefinite rhythms
Grounded around our erratic sun.
This is a wasteland; the nightmares we dream haunt our visions
While all our horrors are eternally spun.
This is a wasteland; its history demands no account and no preface
Hoping a better tomorrow will come.
This is a wasteland; its barrenness steady, its challenges endless,
Till our humanities slowly succumb.

Sleeping beneath our dead boroughs, our cemeteries lie partly silent,
Partly obsessed with our crimes and our cries.
Plundered by us, this infertile expanse too declares its defiance
Proffering poison in fodderly guise.
Crawling about in our limited, bracketed tunnels we follow
Roaches to sustain against hunger and remorse.
This is a wasteland: the circle of life has encircled this hollow
Beckoning futures immensely worse.

Over and over, a charred, interrupted light beam emerges
Deepening cracks in this labyrinth’s bends.
Here are the remnants of ominous uniforms, wound around carcasses,
Shrouding in robes our imperial intents.
Fires keep us warm from our tempestuous stories. Our ghastly memories
Chronicle the many lives which we led.
This is a wasteland; its reaches abound in invincible treacheries
Where men have fallen and where men have bled.

Widowed grenades still embitter our flanks. We exist in these badlands
Choking on venomous air we inhale.
Thickly the smoke that descends on our faces was never thus fashioned
To have ourselves suffocate pale.
Buildings we razed now ensnare our reduced and beleaguered cities —
Cursed to subsist as the creatures we eat.
This is a wasteland; we borrow our lives from erased realities
Craving lost honour but dead on the streets.

Not long ago had we charged into battles with heedless abandon,
Blindly pursuing our chain of command.
Forward we marched, onward we marched, till not one was left standing:
Killed in our action or slayed by our hands.
Seventeen days, and the land that we took without doubting our bloodlust
Claimed all our carnage and asked for some more.
This is a wasteland; we created its terrors. Its shadows encompass
Acts of our violence foisted before.

Sated with victory, we paused on the eighteenth and stood in the rubble,
Watching it surge and obscure our sunlight.
Corpses arose from their stupor and heralded dreadful, dark troubles
Summoning forth this relentless night.
Thirst is awakening; slaughterous passions invite consequences.
Blood interred is blood consumed.
This is a wasteland; the dead here are free of their mortal offences
While those alive are immortally doomed.

Who do we murder when men do not run with targets behind them?
Who do we smother when enemies die?
Then we are forced to resign to this definite outcome
Scouring retreats where our soldiers lie.
Killing persists; our society mirrors our earlier habit
Cloaked in the ranks of fraternal remains.
This is a wasteland; with constant regrets we devour what we inhabit
Thus are we trapped in fatal chains.

Men volunteer. When they choose to escape these undying winters,
We run our knives through their brotherly hearts.
Guns, which set armies ablaze when assigned to our impatient fingers,
Rust in our bile now. We’re doubly accursed:
Killing our living and living our kills. This is a wasteland;
Ravaged, depraved, we endure what it has.
This is a wasteland; some die here defiled by their own two hands and
Some by the stars on their shoulder-pads.

This is a wasteland; we breed our despair by aligning authority
With our survival; the youngest die first.
Brave are the men who embrace their death’s deliberate certainty.
Braver are they who enact it unabashed.
This is a wasteland; our sombre skies are riddled with some bullets
And some our ghosts by reckless design.
Wartime has reinforced careless respect for our ivory turrets:
Routines which last beyond war, beyond time.

And so it stands that few dwell in this wilderness; theirs is a world worse —
Heirs who inherited an abominated fate,
Creatures that slither directionless finding their circumstance adverse
Till they return to their burrowed estates,
Husks of the men, who had fought for a glory which eludes their ambit,
Shrunk in their count and breathing their last.
This is a wasteland; wrapped in a cold, unforgiving night’s blanket
We dare to dream of a generous past.

Who shall I be when I die? Will I absolve us of sins yet unpardoned?
Will I increase their lust by my blood?
Staggering, trembling, afraid, I feel yet rather strangely unburdened
As if the prayers hitherto that I pled
Strangely were answered. This haunt that had held us imprisoned, fettered,
Strangely dissolves into nothingness now.
This is a wasteland; forever let darkness so dark be remembered
Insofar as poetry freely may allow.

Death shall become me tomorrow; I pause here reflecting in scribbles,
Destinies and prospects, events and desires.
This our capricious, disloyal companion — Hope — cripples,
Crushes our stories with whispered lures.
Cast to our graves yet condemned to survive on these stuttering edges
We find our lives in barbarous upkeep.
This is a wasteland: awake to its perils I’ve outlined these pages
But I am free now to finally sleep.

Author: Ayush

I love writing, and this blog serves as a slow growing collection of all my writing endeavours.

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