I wrote this short play of allegories during my undergrad, which I also have had the honor of seeing in a small theater back in UK. Meant to be written in beguiling words, I cannot say it is a delectable read, although probably a bountiful one. I have had many a conversation about the characters, which I always enjoy. If you do get around to reading this, let me know who your favorite character is.
C’est la vie
Characters: Ethic, Knowledge, Ambition, Love, Jealousy, Death, Altruist, Veracity and Time.
Ethic, Knowledge, Ambition, Love, Jealousy and Altruist are considered to be mortal characters. Death, Veracity and Time are considered immortals working in backgrounds.
I shall adore you,
and I shall chant your name
on every breath that you exhale;
why stay away from me?
Is there anyone else in this comedy
who calls you more than I?
Why still distance me from you?
You will always remember me, fear me,
as I will always desire you,
and one day you will be mine.
My dear Ambition,
why do you leave me alone
every day from dawn to dusk;
What is it that has so much vigor
that calls you and lures you
away from my affection,
left lone only to crave?
My dreams soar over the skies.
It is a wild beast
that gluts to be fed at all times.
My goals are desperate, frightened,
and yet as compassionate as the midwife
of a meager about to give birth to her child.
Love, I will rise;
I will rise with no limits
and I will do what will challenge
and amuse fear itself.
And everyone will revere me, honor me;
with you by my side.
I fear in fears’ gravest that you grow blind to me, my dearest.
You gather your dreams are desperate
my yearning for you too is desperate;
like a hungry lioness it prowls hastily for a meal
lonely as a night star dwarfed by the blackness.
As if I were the nocturnal moon
I am ever frantic to reach out to you with my light;
at day you are my sun,
leaving me naught but with your golden light as hope,
at night you are my earth and you rest on my lap
whence forth my light, at owl’s first hunt, lastly reaches you.
Do you not love me?
I do so my beloved.
But my dreams let not me sleep.
Will you not stay by me
while I satisfy the world
that has been laid down in front of me?
I shall deny even Death to stay by you.
I shall stifle every ounce of sadness
for a thousand years just so I know you love me;
There shall not be a thunder that I will not love you.
Love, you say Ambition’s eyes are thwarted,
Can you not see the coarse black threads blinding your own?
Much like the unreasonable, eccentric cupid
You too lay entrenched in thoughtless reasoning.
You say you shall deny me;
many have said so.
You too will fall into my enticement;
there is no soul that can deny me but Time.
And when Time permits me to quench
my love for you, I shall come,
and I shall see how you deny me.
For once, I have to agree with Death.
Cupid’s arrows have struck them well;
they are beguiled into foolishness.
Ambition and Love are kept apart
by your outstretched arms,
my dear Time;
one can kill adoration for achievement
and the other moral for affection.
Both remain kneeled on thin ice
Either to break or them to slip
into the icy cold waters of numb pain.
Death is more reasonable than you may concur;
You often reject Death too hastily Veracity,
which remain ironic to your lucid words
as though you denounce his presence to be the raison d’etre
for ambiguity of truth itself.
Tell me my friend,
what is the juice embedded
unto the blunt edge of cupid’s arrow
that makes it so corrosive?
Certainly it is not pure adoration
for such does not exist.
Cupid is naught but love’s manifest
Unseen and seen, patient and impatient,
a cobweb that has sprout from amid interactions
that of which appeals and threads
and that of which is greed for non-materialistic desires.
It is bred with mixtures of joy, agony, hope,
sadness, belief, despair, anger, hatred, adulation
and the strongest doses of opium
for love is naught but addiction for greedy souls.
Is there no more?
Love is as dangerous as you.
Can I not stop it?
You can stop Cupid, can you not?
Will I be enough to sunder
something as acquitted as love.
Veracity, am I really omnipotent?
A land with no love is a chilly wonder to dwindle upon
but love’s venom has seeped deep into your sands.
Are you omnipotent Time?
You do not know your own existence,
neither your spring nor your winter.
Tell me, what is “time” to you?
I have no answer.
What if Death kills me?
You command Death;
he is under your service.
He cannot survive without you.
Without you, how will he know
when to strike?
And why do you exist Veracity?
from whence is your birth?
I come from your motion, Time.
Your motion allows motion of emotions
and from that I am born.
I exist because all the emotions
interact with each other
and I am just their outcome.
If I die will everything stop?
You yourself do not know what time is, what you are.
How can you say time exists but not for everything else?
If you yourself, your action is given life
by the thoughts of beings
their sentiments and their sense of self,
which you remain consciously unaware of,
how can you claim you truly dictate the liquid flows
of the wary straight ward clock.
It may as well be for your mind to be unconsciously decreed
by the way they carve their barks
and mold their mud to clay.
If what you say is true, ironic is it not,
that we should be created by them
only to control them into harmony?
Jealousy (whispering to himself):
Why do you rest yourself
on Ambition and not me?
What has he given you that I cannot?
For this reason and this reason alone
I shall lust Ambition away from you
just so you can be mine and else naught.
If Ambition be the wine,
I shall be the poison defiling him
just so you will become mine.
And if you be the rose,
I shall be the thorn protecting you
from all treason and treachery
that I myself shall brew, only for you.
Love, your story is like the winter trees;
the tree is you Love
and the leaves is your yearning for Ambition.
By next winter the leaves shall become arid
and shrivel off and I shall be
your new green leaves.
What do you speak Jealousy?
Speak louder, I cannot hear.
It is nothing my friend.
Ah. Just have a look at Ambition and Love.
Such morality coexists;
so much are they fascinated
that none can defy the other.
What nonsense do you speak of!
Open your eyes Ethic,
their liaison is not to last.
Ambition is too fickle
and more indulged towards his dreams
than towards Love.
Now, now Jealousy, don’t indulge a pessimist.
Their actions are harm to none.
They inspire each other, provide meaning
to trivial and imperative sacrifices.
They are the idol of lovers –
occupied with forbearing passion and care.
And if so why doth Ambition leave her everyday
to pursue his selfish desires?
Well, I believe that Ambition’s yearning for Love
drives him more towards his dream.
Not being with her the whole day,
builds up his yen to love her more
and be with her at night; and at daytime,
his love for her drives him faster to achieve.
You know not how the true mind works ethic;
you are too chaste.
How you yet stay so vigilant and patient
I do not know.
Ethic (speaking to himself):
You call me chaste Jealousy, yet you call me vigilant.
Is my façade so convincing? I did not know so.
Your thoughts are troublesome.
I shall follow you so you do no harm.
what do you seek from this old man?
Knowledge, you are renowned
in lands throughout and far off.
Please tell me, do you know everything?
How does it feel?
What do you wish to achieve
by knowing everything?
Dreams and knowledge are far off distant lands.
When you know all, you feel
a growing emptiness inside you
like a cave without any shadows.
A person who believes to know everything
is the same as one
who wishes to not know anything;
The pain lingers and the loneliness grows.
For you Ambition, it is like losing
either your dreams or Love,
whichever is more painful.
Tell me Ambition,
What is Love to you?
What is Love to me you ask?
My heart is this raging ocean
that crashes onto my sandy shore.
And amidst this shore
lies numerous black rocks,
rocks that stand out
perched against the raging waves.
And when Love walks into the shore
her footprints rusting in the sand,
the waves listen;
she slowly walks over to the rocks
and sits like a golden mermaid
awaiting the sun to set.
The raging ocean instantly calms down
no fury, no ire;
the waves chant songs lost in old conch shells.
And the moment she again gets up
the chanting stops, the winds gather
waves surmount with their fury;
and by the time she leaves the shore
the waves become mad, lunacy with no moon.
That is what she is to me.
Whenever a man observes his surroundings
he feels certain emotions for what he sees;
if he sees a small boy being beaten by the elders for ill manners
he may feel that to be right or that to be wrong.
A man such as you has already lived a life
So what you will feel depends on what you
yourself have already experienced and
on what notions regarding life you have constructed.
The passion you speak of regarding Love
is a familiarity of the heart that feeds the soul;
once your heart is indulged in its flavor
you are to accompany such irrationality as you have just spoken
irrespective of any hunger or thirst you may have for your dreams.
That irrationality brought forth from your passion for Love
will become your guide, your interpreter, your translator, your mediator;
it will help you judge and feel what you will see in your journey
it will help you decide whether beating the small boy
was the right or wrong action.
Should you have seeded your passion for Love well
and you maintain your right translator in your doings
no acquaintance of facts will divulge you towards sloth apathy,
but should your compassion falter
and your translator deviate to be one of vile
no acquaintance of facts will divulge you to the wisdom you seek,
and you will fall and your heart will sunder.
You endorse my passion for Love as my translator
of facts to acumen?
Passion translates the tumbling sea waves as Ariel’s hymns
Ire envisage the waves as frenzied screams trapped in azure embodiment
Impatience foresees the waves as sloth nuisance in a façade of idyllic poise;
How your sight welcomes the creeping waves of the sea
Depends on your translator; seek your mediator wisely Ambition,
and wary not from its path, for such defiance is not awarded with care.
Reaffirm that your dreams are not just some hunger for food
to satiate a falsely guided guile of the soul to meet the demands of your mind.
When you have realized and accepted your translator,
only then reconcile whether it is wise
to row your boat distant from Love for such long years
while you hunt for your wary and distrustful feast, bountiful in deceit.
With these words, I fare thee well;
Ponder and relinquish what you savor, for your eyes are displeased
with your bewilderment of your separate worlds.
Ambition, my dear friend, how have you been?
I haven’t seen you around in recent moons.
I am fine but this harrowing question
wearies my mind.
Speak with me;
maybe I can give you an exposit.
My dear Jealousy, don’t get me wrong.
My dreams are seeded in my heart
like a child seeded in its mother’s womb
and Love is the blood of the mother
providing nourishment to the child.
Without the blood, the child will die;
yet without the child, the blood loses its excitement –
the excitement to feed a child.
The stagnant blood cannot pass
its nourishments and hence will not be content.
Should dreams be the child
then who is the mother?
It is I.
Blood sustains life.
The mother cannot live without her blood;
she will die should the blood
be taken away from her.
However, once her child is born,
the mother does not care about her life;
the child is then her world.
She is then free of the illusion created
to captivate us in this world,
but she is in turn mesmerized,
blinded by her child.
She can, in the flap of a sparrow’s wings
throw away her blood for her child.
What is it that you are bestowing upon me,
By chants of immortal Veracity,
I know you are not thick.
I know you will not dissipate
your dreams for Love!
Love comprehends your dreams,
and so forth believes that you will
fulfill your tasks – thus she is with you.
Without your imaginings,
for you, Love is as good as shed skin.
Jealousy, you know not the ways of Veracity!
Your harsh elucidation disheartens Ambition.
You speak like a surge deafening
onto a shore swallowing all words that it restrains.
Worry not Ambition, your child is still not born.
Your child still lies in your womb;
your child is still growing, feeding on you.
And in this decisive time,
the tigress will do anything to survive,
to keep her blood flowing, to keep her child alive.
And once the child is born,
should the mother die, who will guide the child?
Who will feed the child;
teach to face the wrath of Veracity?
Both the blood and child must survive,
Either cannot survive without the other.
You are strong Ambition;
your verve has been carved from Zeus’ mace.
Stay heedful; stay heedful to all, to your ways,
and pray for sins and deceits to not cross your ways.
Come let us go to the river where the Altruist lies.
Maybe he can divulge the matter more lucidly to you.
(Exit Ethic and Ambition)
Serpent’s tongue Ethic.
This face of you I knew not;
I underestimated you.
You move like snake on water,
like leaves on breeze.
You are vigilant, vigilant indeed.
I know of a faster route to get to the river,
I shall speak to Altruist first
and in his mind I shall pour sham.
He shall be my sin,
my deceit crossing Ambition’s ways.
Death, be on guard!
With abide of immortal Time you shall kill,
you shall die for one.
‘Crimson moon against maroon sky
Burgundy leaves leaving their homes abide
Scarlet gems in mountains do hide;
It is time when sins in hearts begin to rise.’
The day is long and I fear Time
is not in his best disposition to ponder
the guile of wrong, and hence be conceited.
Why do I dream of tears from a deer’s eye?
The moons are gloomy and I am at loss to brood
that many hearts are not at ease.
Troublesome are the days to come.
O young apprentice of hearts!
Emotions are none but moths
easily deceived, cheated and battered
that fly to its own fire, dies
and thus the happiness abused;
raped is the heart,
as that is to befall on our beloved Love.
What do you speak of
O jealousy, my jolly mole?
Lust for Ambition has befallen our maid;
Ambition knows so and plays the forged
Poor Love is lost in his charm
and Ambition now disguises
to show that he cares like an earnest lover
and masks to be concerned
of whether to choose his dreams or Love.
What treachery do you speak of Jealousy?
Watch your tongue when you speak
treason that concerns Love.
Be it even God that stands in my path,
I shall cut him in half,
but no treason I shall let befall
my little sister.
Ah, that is what you lore of,
but Ambition you cannot hinder.
For you too are blinded
by the pretense of Ambition;
He will speak to you words
scented with misty wiles
and beguile you to his ways.
When has derail adored Ambition
so much that he deceits the
chaste of Love.
Has he lost his elicits of honor?
Ambition, if hurt you are to bestow on Love
I shall make haste to reveal your true identity.
Altruist, do not let resentment
proceed in your place.
You must think before you act in the stage.
Love remains blind to Ambition;
she is like a dingy boat vanished
in Ambition’s rickety sea.
Should you rage the waters;
the boat will be drowned in its valor.
We must consider time in length, not in short.
We must sacrifice the temporary joy
that will vanish and impair
for the better that will last.
You know not how deep
Love dwells for Ambition.
Your actions that which you speak
will only cause desperate Love
to invite Death into her bosom,
and nothing else.
Then what must we do?
This thought of cold Ambition
rusting Love’s bliss harrows me,
and will ever more
should something happen to her,
whereas I knowingly do nothing.
Ambition now strides towards you
with mesmerized Ethic by his side
to seek advice from your words
of whether he should chase
his dreams or reside with Love.
Should you really desire to protect Love
as you speak so audaciously,
advice him to leave to chase his dreams,
and after the sinner has exited the stage
we shall sway Love’s heart away from him,
and Time then will also stand by us.
However, take heed my friend,
Ambition must not get the wind
of our scripted tasks,
neither should he know
that I have spoken these words to you;
I, my dear, am craven
though I repent not to agree,
and do not want Ambition chasing me
in this cloistered life of mine.
Jealousy, I thank you for taking the valor
and speaking the words to me;
your task with Ambition is done.
Worry not, I shall see to it that he departs;
And when the opium has left our sweet maiden
her addiction we shall smolder with diversions and occasions,
Ambition be the luna, Love be the ocean waves
we shall calm down her raging heart;
freedom and peace, Love shall taste once again.
Jealousy (speaking to himself):
Altruist, my ignored poison,
you are he who loves to believe to know
that others are unaware of,
regardless of corroborating the words fed to you.
A deceitful lover of mirth;
feed to you a little taste of responsibility
you will make it your life,
just to feel important and required.
That is all I have given to you
my work thus absolute.
Come hither with speed, my befuddled Ambition
Drink my sham, be my sin.
Tell me Ambition
about this hunger of yours
If words bear the expression
your hunger is not less of the Gods,
So forth that you may pluck
even the forbidden fruit
and taste it with valor
while facing the wrath of your prayers?
Pluck it I may, but taste it I may not.
Life is cruel and naught;
It courses like water gently through our hands
seeding onto the sands of future,
and through the sands
eventually to an answer.
This hunger is restless
and time is petite; If I am to rise
I must seed my own trees now
Only then will I be able to pluck
the forbidden fruit and make way
to quench my preordained gluttony.
My mind is shrouded by curtains of restlessness
divided between the realms of Love’s passion
and ennui hereafter, and that of a journey
through deceit to arrive at an answer to my dreams;
a journey that is loomed
with the odds of losing Love’s sterility.
You are bent in impatience Ambition
like a child craving to play with his new toy.
I hear you insisted Knowledge for guidance,
What did he impart upon you?
Knowledge remained vague in his counsel;
He consolidated my gluttony of ambition with my adore for Love
and warned to pick an apt interpreter that will guide my journey,
that will instill the proper denotations of what my sight beholds,
lest I falter to crude reality.
And crude reality is not one for one with feeble morality.
lest it devours you in its sin;
Forgive my dropping ears, my dear
but its seems as though you plan to venture,
and have asked knowledge to straighten your mind;
A shrewd man’s words are never a plain man’s dinner.
You speak what lies in my heart Altruist –
Ethic here guided me to you for word of trust;
I lay disjointed of whether to voyage for my dreams,
or rest here with Love with my days in leisure and compassion.
My exposit with Knowledge was a warning to my heart;
He pronounced that should my heart for Love not falter
I will remain a happy man, but lest it does all will be gone.
And will it falter Ambition?
I do not mean to be a father – but Ambition
your dilemma is non-existent to my eyes.
Your bond with love is stringent enough to smite all rust,
Satiate your dreams and come back to her arms;
Time and distance are not enough to cleave
the threads that bind desperate hearts.
Wisdom sees only many answers not one,
and Knowledge simply endowed you with the path of many.
But Altruist, the sultry cynicism of tarry
and the impatience it imbues is impudent and vigorous.
Should Ambition’s be coaxed by his travels
to lose his sense of Time,
his passion maybe drowned
and impatience may turn that of Love’s to bitter misery.
You mock me Ethic!
You think I would lose my sense of duty to Love?
I have had enough of your doubts.
Knowledge, Jealousy and now Altruist
have all barred me from your thoughts –
I shall leave, and I shall leave with my apt translator.
Tonight, when my mistress sleeps I depart to quench my mind
resting my heart beside her in grief.
(Ambition rushes off)
Jealousy why do you intrude my silence and follow my steps
as if my shadows themselves were your home;
These past days have wearied my breathes
and a harrowing solitude drills into my heart,
Tell me, do you have any word of Ambition.
My chaste Love, do you not hear the vile laughter of Time?
He smites you with relentless cadence
and into that he smears hope leashed to a thread
kept at arm’s length away from your reach;
In that hope Time masquerades as a maggot
Meticulously digging into your freshly served wounds
that he feeds on only for pleasure that is so rare
in his domain so drenched in monotony and boredom;
and you will continue to nourish his insatiable foolishness
as long as you reside your heart to Ambition.
Time is vile, and his game with distance is treacherous;
this silent pain in which my desire trembles,
only to bestow my sight on my beloved,
to know that he lives, is dreading;
Yet, that is not enough for me to move my heart
from where it lies.
Seven winters have passed,
Seven times the leaves have become arid,
Seven times they have shrived off
Seven times they have had their new green leaves,
yet I lay in slumber trapped within your barks.
Do you yet not realize! Ambition has long been coaxed
into Time’s beguilement; his heart no longer throbs
for that of yours, but for his dreams that he treads to fulfill.
You may be right Jealousy and for that I am envious.
How violent and raging are his dreams?
How vehement and ferocious are they to have unlit
my burning flesh that craves for his touch;
For that he left, but I knew that he would,
yet without a word of care, without a kiss,
without words of farewell or tears of longing, he left.
For that I am envious, for that I resent,
for that I await an answer.
My tongue rattles and ceases and
words crumble and jitter;
my mind rushes through rusty grasses of woods
of jade olive leaves painted against brazen pink skies;
oil clutters in my eyes, black and bathing.
Enough words of yore my Love!
Come walk beside me, let us visit the new leaves
sprouting among the bushes of black roses,
and I pray let me your thorns to protect you
from all contempt that your beauty had once besieged.
It is interesting how blames always perch upon the ones’
on whom there is no authority;
Is the uncontrollable truly that scary?
More than the disobedient,
Ones’ whose thoughts do not reflect that of others
are the ones who are frightening.
Yet it is this very aspect that builds color
Into their monotone lives;
Some manage to put up façades for society
and some accept the fascia as their identities,
while in the true sense, these masks merely reflect
a disagreement with the self to hide ones flaws
and for the attainment of that which they do not deserve.
Are acts of desperation really flaws Veracity?
Look unto Jealousy,
his actions were mere reflections of his desire for Love
although his intentions remain shrouded
of whether they were for Love or simply against Ambition.
I would say both played their roles;
Jealousy’s actions were by far a monotonic consequence of his façade;
His inability to be ubiquitous to Love’s thoughts
elucidated him to his lies, and to Love;
Love is bare, she carries no façade
which is the cause of her affliction to Jealousy’s words
as she now roams inferior to herself
and what were once her own words of self-comfort.
Such lack of trust would not have come about
had Ambition only commenced his departure
in all truth to Love.
Ambition had a thirst and his lack of satiation
forced him to a hurried decision –
a hurried decision that consolidated neither Love
nor his passion for her, which Knowledge had hoped
to be his mediator for his journey.
His façade gave him the impression that
he had to waver Love’s passion for him
to make way for his passion for her,
which he could only achieve when his thirst was satiated.
Do you mean to say contradictions towards one’s own identity
is the true cause of a changing self?
but more their impatience and unacknowledged faults
which, don’t get me wrong, is what makes them amusing and who they are;
A person is ever-evolving and never one person only,
and likewise is never exactly whom they are perceived to be.
An Altruist is not essentially a wise decipher of souls,
Jealousy can often bring about changes that were meant to,
Knowledge does not necessarily follow an accustomed path for acquiring wisdom
but acknowledges what to lose and what not to lose,
Ethic does not ineludibly conclude the right answers,
Love’s strength is that it is often not pure;
easily corruptible bringing out the need for balance and vigilance,
and Ambition’s weakness is that it often remains blind to itself and falters its course.
C’est la vie!
Such is life.
I have adored you more than you deserve,
and I have chanted your name
on every breath you exhaled;
I always desired you
and on your last breathes I gift you words,
Words that like crows will quibble to your ears
Till you settle down to be mine:
“I will give you endless bouquets of velvet delphinium
Of aggravated violet wrapped in silken aqua,
Pluck its every four petals, mangle drops of its crowded nectar
and bit by bit smear the fragrant sugars over your wintry skin,
limb by limb, from your white lips to your closed eyelids.
Like in prayer I will crumble your arms resting on your swollen belly
and on tea leaves I will rest your soul to your collapsed breathes
Enclosed in a wooden chamber as your chariot.
In processions I shall march, somber and candid
Carrying you on my shoulders wrapped in white and among delphiniums,
I shall sing prayers in silence and songs aloud
Drums will roll and I shall dance with you once and forever more.
Soon the time will come when I shall cast your casket away
Drop your scented heavy flesh in a hole among dark cold mud,
I will stash slanted bamboo and leaves to cover your sight
and walk away in reverence;
the bouquets of velvet delphinium rotting on your beside.”
Our embrace will not be one of forlorn;
Love, come! Rest your tears!
Embrace my arms.
Published in my third book, Canvas, by BRAC University Press.