Of Claps And Lamps
"They got together and stormed the palace... Forced the king to abdicate"
Of Claps And Lamps
A reader writes political poetry during lockdown

Once upon a time, there was a king

Who ruled in a land far, far away

Disliked by some, though he was

Over his fiefdom, he held sway.

He believed that he could do no wrong

With a coterie of sycophants by his side

A crafty monarch who had remained in power

With the age-old tactics of distract and divide.

Then one day, a dreadful pestilence

Spread in the kingdom like wildfire

The helpless people rushed to their king

Who for them was God, their saviour.

“Oh! Mighty king, please do something

You’re the only who can save this country

Lives are being lost and people are ill

The doctors need your help and so do we.”

The king may have been predictably clueless

But like any good orator worth his salt

He address the kingdom with an impassioned plea

And in one swift move brought it to a halt.

“At five o’clock, I implore you all

Stand in your balconies and clap your hands

It will boost the morale of our doctors

And drive this disease away from our land.”

But a few wise men started to wonder

Wasn’t this an empty symbolic gesture?

Sound policies are the need of the hour

Only to be heckled and branded as traitors.

The doctors meanwhile soldiered on

Putting in their blood, sweat, tears and toil

With little help and no protective equipment

The king’s indifference made their blood boil.

The people again turned to their king

“Oh! Mighty king, while you are safe and secure

Please do something for millions of us

Helpless on the streets, with no food or shelter”.

“And while some of us are inside our homes

This mass quarantine is not enough

For the day you lift it, the disease will spread

And then the devil will have the last laugh”.

The king decided to give another speech

“Light some lamps in your balconies

We need to be together in our resolve

And this is a symbol of our unity”

Again the people did as they were told

The king had found the perfect strategy

Token gestures mixed with emotion

Would send the people into a frenzy

But one day the people said, “Enough’s enough”

The death toll was slowly starting to rise

The king’s rule would one way or the other

Spell their doom, they began to realize.

They got together and stormed the palace

Forced the king to abdicate

It was time to take things in their own hands

Otherwise it would be too late.

After testing in bulk, they isolated the infected

While also ensuring the welfare of the poor

And contained the spread and eradicated finally

A disease which was believed to have no cure.

They had also learnt the lesson of a lifetime

To never again depend on a single ruler

Collectively looking after all their needs

Was the only way to live happily ever after.

(This write up has been sent to The Lede by Shukr Usgaokar. All opinions are the author's alone and not necessarily that of The Lede's.)

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