When I’m just a passerby

his head bleeds rivulets of flowers

on the street with few passerby

but there is still naught, not

a worrier, we are all sons of this soil

which has imbued in us the shield

of defense against pain, poverty,

wound and death, we are all idols

of this soil with our open eyes

that see but never could comprehend.


we are solemn in our expressions

but only if it could turn into actions

that we have long forgot the story of,

there is pain in every glance, and

that is all there is to it, our hands

clutching our breasts as we pass by,

our eyes squinted with the soil kernels

touched by his blood, fainted of life,

(of alcohol may be) and of lifeless visions.


his toes are half hidden beneath a car

(is he just asleep, my eyes ask me,

I have no answer, I pass by: a passerby)

a turbaned man sees through his shield

while speaking on his phone, the lips

next to me tell of the blood I failed

to see or sniff and him being passed out

by alcoholism, those lips wonder if he’d die,

may be he would, we’re all dead, when alive.


There is a story to it. May be it is not worth discussion because “what it is” is “what it is”. Words yield power but they do not change things/situations always for that man or for me and for the other passerby.

Image source


24 thoughts on “When I’m just a passerby

  1. fascinating piece…i want to meet him…smiles…we are all sons of this soil…is a cool line and adds a flavor of divinity…if only our expressions could turn into actions as well…truth in that…


    • I wonder which is the “him” that you want to meet: the fainted or the turbaned… their lives entwined, mine just merely touched theirs. The fates did what was intended..though I do not know of it. I apologize for being quite ambiguous here.
      Thank you for sharing words… I hope you are doing good. 🙂


      • when i first read this i was caught up in the lines “we are all sons of this soil” in that we are none too far different…and each share in the joy and pain…but even the man whose car the dead man is under…i imagine he will now have to live with the pain…i wonder is it the dad man that was drunk or the driver…


        • There is a small event which led to it. I was bewitched to write something from within after seeing through it. It isn’t literary and doesn’t entirely depend on that event.
          But let me tell you the story:
          Last Monday, I was returning back home with my sister on foot. We had gone to the market. At the side of the road, we saw a man lying down in an awkward position. There was another man who noticed him(with a turban) while he was talking on the phone. As I passed by his side, I noticed that half his toes were under a parked car. A sort of defense mechanism made me move ahead. My sister waited a while and with a creased forehead, she told me that the man’s head was bleeding and he might have fainted because of intoxication. I had by then moved ahead and she followed. As she wondered if he would die, I looked back and saw the turbaned man standing by his side, still talking on phone and I muttered silently that he would help him.
          It was later I realized that I was not shocked by the scene because we have seen poverty and pain innumerable number of times in this country. We see it, we feel it everyday. All of us born here(sons of this soil) have become immune to it all. I felt guilt and I am still carrying it along with me.

          I just checked that Claudia, in her comment, understood it.


  2. For me, this is tinged in pain–as though I am watching someone injured, perhaps moribund, and getting his blood on me. I’m not sure I could read this without an emotive response. Very well done.


  3. to me this has an almost surreal feel – like watched through a pane with an emotional distance, asking oneself how to break that glass and get emotionally involved… i wish we could break those glasses that divide us sometimes from people that we want or should connect with or that need our help


  4. Your opening line “His head bleeds rivulets of flowers” is a great hook, reeled me in……I felt the internal angst of the wonderings….and really liked “I have no answer, I pass by: a passerby”. As are we all. Well said!


  5. This line struck me the most: we are all sons of this soil ~

    I have seen poverty at its worst, so I can relate with being a passerby and seeing things at a distance ~ You have captured the scenery and I too wanted to know how it ended ~ Good day to you ~


  6. A powerful poem, Anmol(aliasHA). Beautiful words painting those images. Being continually confronted with traumatic images does desensitize, & causes that shield to develop. It’s also a defense mechanism. Sometimes you just have to be a passerby, not a participant, for your own sake.. I read your more full story of the incident, & felt so sad for you all. I hope things improve for you. Vivienne, of OneVoicePoetry


  7. scotthastiepoet says:

    This is deep and telling writing.. I especially enjoyed:

    “we are solemn in our expressions

    but only if it could turn into actions

    that we have long forgot the story of,

    there is pain in every glance, and

    that is all there is to it, our hands

    clutching our breasts as we pass by,” Terrific… Scott


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