Shahriar Shahriari

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Poems - On Freedom - Group 6
iii. The Bag

Children come to this world clear, free
For babies this is the only way to be
Yet within three to four years or so
We teach them our old ways, so they know
How to judge and how to grudge and how to hate
Grieve, anger, pain, debate, us emulate.
Very soon to each we give a large bag
Over their shoulders they put, and then drag;
This bag they fill with pain, grudge and hate
Through this bag with others learn to relate
Trading in evil, hate, anger, and fear
Learn to take eye for an eye, ear for ear.
Anytime anybody does some wrong
We put it in our bag, carry along,
With this bag, the nasty things only go in
To come out is injustice, even a sin;
So we learn to shut out our soul and heart
Cynicism and distrust keep us apart.
In the name of Justice, Truth, even God
We carry this heavy bag, ourselves applaud.

Sometime back in my life I did cheat
With my bag I took some time to retreat.
Put my bag down on the ground and opened up
Searched inside, scrutinized without stop;
Found many items small and some big
In my bag deep and down I did dig.
Many years of pain, anger, hate and grudge
Needlessly I carried, yet did not budge
One inch from everything that I had learnt
Even though I was the one who got burnt.
Pondering this whole image on retreat
I decided in this game, my bag I'd beat
Even if in my ways I had to cheat.
I started by making everything neat
Then I picked a small item and took it out
Of my bag, put on the ground and left without.

Went for some time, put my bag down, looked behind
That small item nowhere I could find.
I opened my bag and quickly I found
An item which was heavy, black and round,
Took it out and left behind and walked off
My load was much lighter, though life was tough.
Once again I stopped, and took one more
Item out of my bag, put on the floor,
Once again I walked off with some haste
Excited and energized, light load I taste.
Finally I stopped and took everything out
I resolved to let all go and have no doubt.
No law suits, no more anger, hate nor grudge
I will forgive everyone, let God be the judge.
I carried my empty bag upon my back
Even though it was flat, an empty sack;
It was tempting to fill it up once more
Empty bag upon my back, an open door.
So in this game I cheated one more time
Game was false, so my cheating was no crime.
Instead of carrying my bag right side up
I turned it upside down, inverted cup;
Now anything into my bag finds its way,
Naturally and quickly will fall away.
Next step is to not at all play this game
Called Justice, Truth, Good, or any name.
Throw away my bag, let go, and just be;
Like babies, move through life, faithful, free.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
July 13, 1997

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