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The sermon of the sea


TO BREAK out of the hustle and bustle of human toil.

To escape from the rut of encultured habit.
To flee from the jealous, constricting embrace of vainglory.
On New Year’s Eve, hastened I to the eternal sea.
And in my solitude, a soliloquy.

Cast off the old. Ring in the new. The incessant monotone of the year-end… after year-end, after year-end… So, we bid 2023 good riddance, and joyously welcome 2024 with much louder boom than the proverbial bang.

Fleeting as the wind, footprints in the sand are.
Swept to nothingness by the onrushing waves.
As fleeting are the days, flushed by the tides of time.
So waste not repentant tears over the demised year.
Refresh, renew. The new one promises something truly dear.
The year just past is better forgotten. With some spirit of thanksgiving and forgiveness.

The incoming one best taken. With open arms, with hope and prayer.
Less thanksgiving and lesser forgiveness, guarded hope and incessant prayer there, if I may. But not ever to be simply cast away.
To simply consign to the deepest recesses of memory injustices and atrocities, is in itself a worse injustice and the worst atrocity. An invitation to the revision, nay, the perversion of history. Of the past –

We may end the wailing but not the mourning,
We can stop the weeping but not the grieving.
This, our sworn duty – as human beings –
As much to the dead, as to the living.

And as much as justice, to wish the cruelest death and damnation upon the perpetrator. That it may not ever happen again.


The waves rise, crest, fall – surging to ritual death upon the shore.
The sea murmurs, nay, roars:
”Leave the forgetting to the gull, 

its fish for the day its only care.

Leave the forgetting to the fish, 

escape from the gull’s hungry beak its very cause to exist.”

I am no gull. I am no fish.
The sermon of the sea I hear, and shall heed.

“…Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children…ships get wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and the children play…” The Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Gitanjali, I suddenly well remember.

Over. Done with. 2023 was.
Dwell in the past, no matter how dead. Why must I?
In. Going. Doing. 2024 is.
Live in hope only of a future best. Why can’t I?
For like the sea – rising and falling,
In its very waters the old in the new abiding. I am.

(Updated from a piece first published here January 2010)



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