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A Fistful Of Stars: Talk And Speech

Poet Hariharan Balakrishnan writes:
When I talk to someone
I talk to a person
When I speak
I speak to the world

When I talk to someone
I talk to a person
When I speak
I speak to the world
I have learnt to talk
And also to speak
I seldom wag my tongue
When I speak to people
I speak my mind
Some feel hurt, others rejoice
A few remember what I say
As it happened the other day
The son of a friend said to me
"Uncle, you said this- years ago
And it helped me correct my course"
Now a grown up father he
I do not remember what I say
To you and you, and You
But others remember what I said
If only a very few

After the stroke of midnight this New Year
A strapping young lad said to my wife
"Uncle wished me all three times
He saw me here tonight.
You did not, aunties are getting old"
She simply laughed those words away
First I thought the lad was cruel
He was not, he only spoke his heart
He did not just mean what he said
He need not say 'sorry', I thought
He talked about the birthday parties
At my house he used to come
When he was but a lad, a kid
Of nine or ten- and early teens
He grew up with my elder child
Today they both are far
A thousand miles and more away
He spoke of caring for her
A sister soul who gave advice
In his wayward days at school
He recalled words I spoke to him
But forgot others' empty talk
He revives memories for me in time
This boy at age of twenty two
Who lost his elder sibling young
At an age younger now to him
His father spoke of nothing, but smiled
A father who talks, more than he speaks
Maybe he understands this life
Where talk is cheap but speech is rare
I had five simple words for them
"Do not make me ever cry"

H. Balakrishnan
283 Shaheed Nagar
Bhubaneswar 751007
Tel.: +919338246725


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