The Ultimate Leveller


– By Sitharaam Jayakumar

I was riding in the valley of death
Mounted on a shining black stallion;
Trying to shake off my relentless pursuer
Who was reaching out for me like a steel trap.

Oh! He chases me relentlessly:
Up steep hills and down deep valleys.
He will not slacken his speed
Till he can crush me with all his might.

He will not give me any quarter;
He will not let me stop to catch my breath.
How long can I keep riding
Before my spirit breaks?

‘Your time has come, you come with me,’ he bellows.
I dare not turn around to look at him;
For I know what he wants from me
Is the spirit that keeps me alive.

My body is ravaged by pain.
Every muscle and cartilage quivering in anguish
As I urge my horse to move faster,
Trying to shake off this monster.

Suddenly, in the distance I see
A fairy goddess who beckons to me
With her arms outstretched,
Holding a rose in her hand.

I then realize what I have to do
to escape my pursuer;
if only I can smell the rose in her hand
this monster behind me would give up the chase.

As I come closer to her,
I can feel myself growing weaker,
Oh! if only I can reach her
and get a whiff of the rose she holds!

Abruptly to my utter horror
She drops the rose on the floor
And crushes it underfoot,
And smiles at me.

As I urge my horse to move faster,
her voice reaches me from the distance.
‘Do not be afraid, do not run,’ she tells me.
‘He who comes behind you is but a mirage.’

‘He is none other than the great leveller
whom all mortals have to meet one day,’ she says.
‘Turn around and face him
for he is your ultimate friend.’

In an instant, I can see her no longer
but my mind is now free of fear.
I stop my horse and turn around
and look my pursuer in the eye.

About the author-

Some know it from the very beginning, for others this discovery is no less than an amusing surprise. Sitharaam Jayakumar, IT professional for past 27 years, happened to discover his unpremeditated zeal during a lazy weekend after penning his first ever poem for his darling daughter. It was just the beginning.


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