Ode To An Earthworm - Twenty First Century

Twenty First Century 2006


1) Years before the birth 

Of the century twenty first 

Many dooms day predictions 

Of stuck up machines,

Paralysed communications

In flight failures in aviation,  

Many such hi-tech worries 

Creating business opportunities 

Quietly is born the century 

Life moving on smoothly


2) No abating of petty terrors, 

Daily violence, lives in turbulence 

Inheritance of the earlier century 

With growing riches ’n technology 

Majority of people still in penury 

Hopes of future 

Fears of the present


3) Growing wealth, individual debts

Huge money flows, trade deficits

Arms trade, non-proliferation vows

Daily violence, libertarian laws

Companies in search of profits

Outsourced unemployments

Faster movement of peoples and goods

Growing unrest of immigrants

Rapid pace of science ‘n technology

Resurrection of old theology

More and more education

Also growing drug addiction 

Endless list of contradictions

No let up in aspirations


4) Symbols of the extremist violence

Shaking the walls of Western liberals

Unable to grasp the links

With Punjab, Kashmir, Afghanisthan

Iran, Iraq, Pakistan 

Kargil, Balkans, Palestine, 

Chechanya ’n tiny Eastern Timor 

Jews and the Nazi terror

Earlier times of colonial plunder

Annihilation of heathens ’n tribes

Single truths ’n ideologies

Loss of Buddha’s statue

Suppression of a Buddhist state

Violence and Ahimsa

Former winning the present

The latter the hope of future !



5) Nearer home in India

A near chaotic democracy

Mixed with hypocrisy 

Leftist, rightist, or centric

Looks like isotropic

Centred around oneself

With hidden agendas

And populist promises

With violence of various forms

Worse than animal sacrifice

And the caste indignities 

Modern populist forms

With libertarian garbs 

Left shining in media glitters

Anarchists capturing sexy flutters

Intellectuals with selfish goals

Market pundits with sensex trends

Common people with day’s income

Being only their lives’ main theme 

Survival at one extreme

Supremacy as another theme

Global forces and local tyrannies

Contradiction continues!


6) Human rights, voting elections,

Freedom of press, demonstrations

Exposed bosoms, dancing bars

Various forms of civil wars

What is freedom and liberty 

Creating mothers out of children in puberty 

Or women suppressed by traditions

Identity politics of blind beliefs 

Or divisive forces of arithmetic?

Blind forces of masses or votes

Or crazy sounds of media bytes?

Some idealists still wielding guns

To annihilate the social goons



7) Twenty first century

Goes so crazy

With media frenzy

And the markets in tizzy

People in penury

And politics of hypocrisy

The spiritual leaders

Some lost and some found

Scientists abandoning 

The path of truth

And amassing wealth

‘N wearing crowns of power!


8) Mother Earth crying

With her children consuming 

Wastes amassing

Still it is the human

To find solutions

For sustained harmony

Between non-living, living 

And the unknown many

High seas ’n  outer space

Planets ’n asteroids

Physical spaces all pervasive

And virtual universe

For sensory delights

And knowledge games

The inner space ever expanding

Peace ’n happiness more eluding

Beautiful parks, fountains of blood

Human flesh for human vultures 

Eagles with a longer vision 

Flying away into oblivion

Traffic jams till eternity 

Price being paid for longevity 

Soothing flickers of light

Even under the terrible plight

Continuing hum of divine music

Even amidst the din chaotic


9) Will twenty first century 

Evolve the human

In search of a new divine

With science in full union

And ten billion humans

Living in a grand unison

With local traditions

In convergence with universal

And cultural diversity

Along with scientific unity

Cherishing individual liberty

In harmony with the collective

Opposites in symbiotic

And multiples in syncretic 

Unity in diversity

And diversity in unity?


Y S Rajan


11 pm


“This poem was written recently. May be seen along with my earlier poem “Waiting for the Twenty First Century” – 14/11/1989, already placed on this website”.