Too late for amends

 

For T. Ganesan (1931-1985)

 

T.Wignesan

 

It is as though an unjust hand punished you

As if the Adlerian guiltless position in the constellation wasn't enough

toppling you from a pedestal

 

You were groomed for position

for heading a family

vacated by the head himself

out of time

 

So they protected you

pampered you

the custom required it

 

there were sisters whose dowries you were supposed to earn

there were grounds whose circumferences you were designated to crush

there were centuries and goals you were bound to knock with stick and bat

there were exams you were deemed to sail through

there were jobs you were merely to inherit on merit

 

The second son was sacrificed

He was too close a second

They turned a deaf eye to your sacrificial deeds

the suffocating cries

 

Work on what has been spoiled by the father and the mother

Hexagram 18

 

Other hands worked on the second son

Other sacrifices nearly came to pass

Fierce jungles

swirling muddy rivers

stalking cobras

poisonous thorns

aboriginal hunters

even your suffocating arms to lock the broken neck

fresh from a hanging

 

These worked

where the mother and father failed

and instilled a wish for survival in your Abel

 

How could you be blamed for being the first born boy

 

if the second took longer to arrive

or instead came as a baby girl

 

Neither parent may be faulted

How could either have known or foreseen

Your traversing of the desert

alone

often in shame

in fear of being found out

 

You kept your back straight

You honoured your position

You wore that air of masterfulness

in your stride

in your respect for the meek

in your willingness to come to the aid of the needy

in your alas mind's reach

bereft of the means to give it authority

 

In your own mind

you had wandered far

as far and beyond the distances of your strides

within three walls four posts open ground and air

you never bothered with approving thumps on the back

nor the little-watched heroic actions on some turf

nor did you recount these match-winning feats

in a thirst for applause

 

You were the quintessential sportsman

You played your last game alone

far away from your folk

You had no wish for a farewell

 

Yet you are mourned in pain by all

 

 

T.Wignesan 1993

April 14, 1993

[from the collection : back to background material, 1993]