I’m

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One day, they caught me

In the jungle, near the waterfall.

I loved running then.

 

I loved racing with the wind,

Watching my unshod heels

Raise clouds of dust behind me.

 

I loved to hear the clap-clap of my strides

Faster, louder and more furious

Than the falling hailstones of a thunderstorm.

 

The sight of the rising Sun

Would inspire me to run faster

And try and jump over it.

 

And the friendly setting Sun

Would tease me and challenge me

To surge ahead of my shadow if I can.

 

And on many a Moonlit night,

My speeding form was mistaken

For a reflected beam of Moonlight.

 

And on hot summer noons

In the cool caress of the waterfall

I would hear the swirling waters

Whisper a tale in my ears.

 

I once asked the mesmerising waters, “Who am I?”

And it didn’t answer.

 

But, as I just said,

One day they caught me.

They wanted me to earn my living.

 

“If you know only to run, then race!”

They put iron under my feet.

Made me run round and round

A concrete circle of radius 100 metres

And timed me, while my head spun.

 

Astonished cries of “You failed!”

Flooded my ears from all sides.

I thought of scaling the walls

And escaping, but the walls were too high.

 

Completely drenched, and dripping

With sweat and shame,

I realised,

I am just a race-horse,

To be shot the day I lose.

21st Sept 1997

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