The Death of a Salesman

By Namit Arora | Apr 2008 | Comments


Yes, I too had a youthful phase—from about 18 to 27—when I wrote poems: imaginary heartbreak poems, gooey lovesick poems, metaphysical angst poems, faux disenchanted poems, pseudo-sophisticated poems, woo-the-maiden poems, voluptuous sorrow poems. Most that survive I can scarcely read now without wincing, but I cannot bring myself to delete them from my computer (they are safely encrypted though — without my consent, they are as good as ashes in the fireplace!). Below is one I still like well enough; it's from the tail end of my poetic phase. Not that poetry has gone out of my soul; I like to think it has simply found home elsewhere in my imagination. :-)

Salesman The Death of a Salesman

One fine morning, the salesman died,
an event well beyond his foresight.
Death would come one day, he felt sure,
but to him after the others,
for he believed in his exemplary life,
in the larger human cause,
not just his own, as his critics surmised.

He had traveled far and wide,
with samples of fir, linen, wool,
calico and even cow-hide.
To everyone he was polite,
for he saw in every human,
a sale personified.

For all those near and dear,
he gathered many a souvenir:
beer mugs, glass beads, and miniatures,
in anticipation of their joyous tears.

Alas! the man died
before the end of the quarter.
But there was plenty he left behind —
a fistful of modest dreams,
a big blue house, two spiffy cars,
and bona fide bone china for his wife.

At his funeral, his friends countrywide,
met to commiserate and unanimously decide,
the dear man would have met his quota,
if only he had survived.

        — 2 Aug, 1995.


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