Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Friday, August 23, 2013

Work and play (personal time)

An excerpt from 'Vital Lies, Simple Truths' by Daniel Goleman.

"In traditional societies, work and leisure are integrated. Buyer and seller linger over coffee before beginning to haggle; when friends come by, work can be dropped to socialize. The frame o work as we know it (now) is a peculiarity of modern society. It was the British mill owners of the seventeenth and eighteenth centruries who by and large invented our frame for a workday. Even in the early eighteenth century in Britain work offered a high degree of flexibility and independence; whether farmer or trandeman, most people worked at home. Work rhythms by and large went in cycles of intense labor broken by idle, free time." page 203

Yes, I would love to break away from the current frame. I wish to go back to the old frame where life is about personal time is family, self, work all jumbled together is needed - not defined strictly as now, with no access to other roles when we are playing the role or a worker. It's unnatural.

It is actually a cruel expectation - to have the mother stay in the workplace finishing a piece of work, even when her husband or child is sick at home. Or worse, to forget the duties to God, because of minor work commitments.

God help me achieve it. Aamiin.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cranky Old Man

I love this poem.  It reminds us that there is so much much more to an old person, than meets the eye. So much life experiences and lessons, that we are still struggling to uncover.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . ... . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . ... lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. ...Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ... . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . ME!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Where is the sincerity?

Sincerity is such a subtle and deep feeling.

Sincerity is to not expect anything back from the recipient.  Not at all.  Not even a 'thank you'.
Sincerity in Islam is to only hope for Allah's reward when we do something for other people.

It is spoiled by the media and the masses blatant or ignorant use of the word.  Now you hear it and it almost means nothing special.
But it is something special and deep that most don't understand.

So much so that when we say, we sincerely want to do something, people still ask us what we are expecting out of it.
When we propose for people to sincerely volunteer or contribute, they insist that we should spend some money to provide some token of appreciation.

Where is the sincerity?

Some governments and organisations use public funds to provide services and assistance for those in need.  It's not enough, there are still a lot more to be done, a lot more people to assist.  And then, some government and organisations spend some of that public funds to hold gala dinners to reward themselves for their work, on top of their usual monthly salary.

Where is the sincerity?

It has become such a norm now, that people don't bat an eyelid, using public funds or zakat money to reward themselves. It has become a norm.  They really feel it's wrong NOT to do it.

But norm does not equal right.

Some may think nothing of it. But I worry a lot about it - I don't want to have to answer on Judgement Day.  I think I have already enough sins on a daily basis.  I don't need to risk adding this one.

So please excuse me, if I decline to attend volunteer's appreciation dinners, or extra activities to entertain volunteers etc.   It's not that I want to be anti-social. It's not that I don't want to meet my friends.  We'll meet on a different occasion insyaa Allah.  An occasion where we spend our own money to treat ourselves.

You may disagree with me.  You may be of the opinion that it's okay or required to spend public funds to reward staff and volunteers.  To keep them happy and therefore keep them involved.  (Here again I have to ask, where is the sincerity?)

We can agree to disagree.  But on joining, don't force me.

On Judgement Day, Allah will clarify for us, the things in which we differ.  I wish to be on the safe side.

And Allah knows best.

And they feed for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan and the captive 
- "Verily we feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward to we desire from you, nor thanks"
~ Al Insan 76:8-9 (Translation of The Quran by Yusuf Ali)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Short and simple

Sometimes the issue and solution is simple.  Too simple.

However, to look more professional/educated/intellectual, some people would give a 17-page complicated proposal.   A 1-2 page proposal doesn't look professional.  Never mind if you have to repeat the points or mention things irrelevant to the issue.

Hadith from Rasulullah SAW are never long winded.  It's straight to the point.  Sometimes it's just one sentence.  It's enough, more than enough.  It's deep.  

Sometimes short and precise sentences and messages say more. And do more to the mind.