30 comments

    1. So very true what you say, Indira.
      And thank you for your kind words too,
      Eric

      Come and go the same
      What we take remains unseen
      But not gold or name

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  1. I was trying to visualize an emaciated camel passing through the needle hole. You’re right, tho, all business and trade is not inherently evil. People like to blame greed as the source of current disparities, but the culprit is our own laziness and lack of alertness to the way things are. Cheers!

    1. Hello Stephen,

      Either an emaciated camel or a really large needle with a fat hole. LOL!

      That’s an interesting thought regarding root causes: it’s our laziness, indifference, and fear that has allowed matters to deteriorate to the current situation.

      Thank you and all good wishes,
      Eric

      Look in the mirror
      But most look out the window
      Seeking root causes

      ‘But I can’t enter the eye of the needle,’ said Quotidian.

      ‘Discard all your bags of gold,’ said the Voice.

      Quotidian was reluctant, but between joining the ever growing mass of wailing humanity in the dank valley below, and entering, he did as he was told. But he could not enter the eye of the needle.

      ‘Now discard all your fine clothes,’ said the Voice.

      Quotidian loved his clothes, his medals, and all the accolades his wealth and connections had bestowed on him. But he had no choice. And soon he stood naked for all to see, and he looked ridiculous. But again, he could not get through the eye of the needle.

      ‘Now step out of that shell,’ said the Voice.

      As soon as Quotidian eased out of his body, he saw himself for what he was: his thoughts, words, and actions covered his spirit body with boils which popped open and leaked foul smelling ooze. He could not enter the eye of the needle.

      ‘Go, redeem yourself in your next life, and return a better person,’ said the Voice. ‘Or feel free to join the rest of your brethren below in the pits, while you reflect.’

      Quotidian was unwilling to slip down the slippery slope and join the blind. He had seen and he will redeem himself.

      As he was about to leave, he turned and peered at the Voice. Recognition filled him.

      ‘You look familiar. My god, you are, you look like…’ Quotidian stammered and stopped.

      ‘Yes, Quotidian, I am you and you are of me. You can’t hide anything from me, from yourself. Memories and recollections are perfect here,’ said the Voice. ‘Now go, redeem yourself, and return to me. And let this be your last attempt.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. You got it, Michelle,

      Yes, that would be simply wonderful.

      But the fear of losing out—let alone the lesser welcomed attributes such as envy—coupled with the lure of marketing and all the promises of illusory gratification are powerful and seductive, and drives normal people to excesses, I reckon.

      In their search for happiness, people pile misery upon themselves and others. Amazing.

      Thank you for your visit and comment,
      Eric

      Poor man, unhappy
      Rich man, also unhappy
      Secret not in wealth

      Kim Ho loved his mansions, limousines, and mistresses. He had fought hard for these spoils of high wealth, destroyed many livelihoods, and it was whispered that he even had people killed.

      Until one day, he found himself facing down the barrel of a shaking gun. Kim Ho grovelled and pleaded for his life.

      ‘I’ll give you whatever you want,’ he said. ‘Anything. Money, anything.’

      ‘How about everything?’

      ‘Yes! Yes! Everything,’ said Kim Ho.

      The morning news reported that multi-millionaire entrepreneur Kim Ho was found in the gutter with a clean bullet wound through his head.

      Police confirmed that his expensive watch, diamond ring, and wallet had been left untouched.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  2. Can’t fathom what happened to my original response. Lost somewhere in the ether.

    Anyway, great poem again, my friend. After all, how much does one really need in life? Why be needled by false commercial prophets, pinned to empty tchotchkes, bibelots, and other unnecessary sparkling trinkets.

    When we depart this spinning blue orb, such extraneous and preposterously minuscule baubles remain behind, mere clutter left for others, the spoils of the departed.

    Good, as always, to read your words, dear Sir.

    warmest wishes,
    Paul 🙂

    1. Dear Paul,

      Your comment – including a repeat post – went into spam. This is so strange because all along your comments came through without a hitch. Anyway, I rescued your original comment and hopefully we don’t experience another WordPress glitch.

      I agree with all you say regarding baubles and other useless stuff. I also believe there is no harm in rewarding oneself for one’s hard work. But when the wealth gap keep widening, we know something is not right.

      Singapore’s politicians are the highest paid in the world and we have one of the highest income inequalities too. And not too long ago, a past president of Singapore defended his obscenely high salary by claiming that it was the going rate. He has passed away since and one wonders what good all that paper did him.

      I’ll upload a “proper” reply to your original post (below) 🙂

      All good wishes, my dear friend,
      Eric

      Shrewd copywriter
      Diamonds are not forever
      Only God’s Love is

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Lauren,

      Thank you for your visit and kind comment. Much appreciate your ever presence

      All good wishes for the week ahead, dear friend,
      Eric

      Little packages
      Contents brought to life by you
      Share them to the world

      When Bheem, a fierce king, and Sadhu, his vassal who wished to break free, met to do single combat to settle the issue, their patron gods appeared. They tried to stop the mutual destruction of their devotees, for Bheem was a strong warrior and Sadhu a wise man. It would benefit the people if peace prevailed.

      But Bheem declined peace and, to swing fate in his favour, he demanded a boon from his patron god. To balance the scales, Sadhu too asked for a boon from his god. The gods, bound to support their devotees, agreed.

      ‘Ask for whatever form and strength you wish, and you shall receive it,’ said Bheem’s patron god.

      Bheem requested the height, build, and strength of an elephant. And in a blink, he towered over Sadhu. When Bheem walked, the earth shook and threw up puffs of dust, and his hot breath singed Sadhu’s hair and skin.

      ‘Ask for whatever form and strength you wish, and you too shall receive it,’ said Sadhu’s patron god.

      Sadhu asked to be as formless as smoke. He glided and darted; and thickened and thinned at will.

      The battle commenced and Sadhu whirled around Bheem; entering his ears and stinging his eyes, and teasing him to distraction. Bheem swung and stomped, and snorted and charged; but he failed to deliver a fatal blow on Sadhu.

      The combat continued for many days and nights, and Bheem grew tired. But recognizing the outcome, he capitulated.

      Sadhu and Bheem became friends and formed a strong alliance of equals. And the gods, who had engineered their reconciliation, rejoiced.

      ‘Remember,’ said the gods to Bheem and Sadhu, ‘the swell must fit the finger.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  3. Collecting sundry bibelots and baubles, trinkets and tchotchkes for…what? Preposterous how some folks spend life accumulating ‘things’ when, really, how much does one really need? A simple dwelling, a dry roof, a sofa with Beloved ensconced, perhaps a wee dram of Jack.

    Superb poem, as usual, my friend. Makes one contemplate and stop…to forgo the quest for inconsequential nonsense. Instead. embrace the wonder, pleasure, and grandeur of Nature herself, pinned not to the incessant needling of commercialism.

    warmest wishes,
    Paul 🙂

    1. Dear Paul,

      You’re so right, my friend. There is so much grandeur in Nature that gives us joy, and we ourselves are capable of giving and receiving boundless happiness by our thoughts, words, and actions. The occasional thoughtful trinket does embellish our love for our partner, I reckon, as long as we don’t elevate these to the realms of idolatry.

      All good wishes 🙂
      Eric

      No excess baggage
      Only thoughts, actions allowed
      One way flight awaits

      Boundless joy filled their long marriage.

      ‘But it had been hard work,’ said Mala in a soft voice.

      ‘But not too stressful,’ said Sangam, and he took her hand in his.

      Their secret was to make one another happy, and the “hard work” came from having to be increasingly inventive with pleasant surprises—be it rustling up a surprise meal; a chore completed before the other person returns home; or a romantic stroll in a park.

      ‘There must be more,’ said a friend.

      Of course. There were the stories. Both had a great sense of humour and came up with funny tales that made the other bend over with laughter. They shared dozens of private jokes and would break into smiles and snickers that amused people around them.

      ‘I meant, surely you quarrel,’ said the friend.

      ‘Yes, all the time,’ said Mala with a small laugh, ‘as sure as sunrise.’

      ‘But our quarrels die as quickly as the morning mist,’ said Sangam.

      They gave one another space; respected each person’s right to anger; and the offending one always made amends; and the offended one readily forgave and never brought up the matter again.

      ‘Impossible.’ That was the verdict of their friends.

      But over the years, the friends had to accept that Mala and Sangam did possess a special love.

      When the children arrived, Mala and Sangam imbued them with the same joy that came with unconditional sharing and loving. Theirs was a happy family that nurtured happy children.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  4. One of the first poems which I memorized as a first grader went thus;

    Father’s car is a Jaguar
    And Dad drives rather fast,
    Arthur’s cart is far les smart
    And can’t go half as far
    But I’d rather drive in Arthur’s cart
    Than my Papa’s fast car.

    Another went thus:

    The dandelion is brave and gay
    And loves to sit beside the way;
    A braver thing was never seen,
    To praise the grass for growing green;
    You never saw a gayer thing,
    To sit and smile and praise the spring.

    The children with their simple hearts,
    The lazy men that come in carts,
    The little dogs that lollop by,
    They all have seen its shining eye,
    Any every one of them would say
    They never saw a thing so gay.

    Both are praises for the simple things available without riches.

    I’ve been told that Jesus’s admonition “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven,” referred to a narrow side gate, so named, through which a camel could only pass if it was unburdened and stooped.

    As usual, thank you for your literary way of getting us to look at ourselves.

    1. Dear Jane,

      What a marvellous response. And the poems are so very apt and worth remembering and sharing. I read them several times and am amazed at their timeless theme and words – and for first graders, you say. Thank you very much.

      Perhaps you could upload this as a standalone post on your blog. It is certainly worth sharing with your readers too.

      Your comment triggered an avalanche of thoughts that went off in tangents and which I condensed (quite poorly, as it turned out) as a story below – which is a rant of sorts.

      A great big hugz for a generous friend,
      Eric

      Moulding our future
      Simple things without riches
      Slips past needle’s eye

      Kirsten Isfahan was a firebrand advocate against the so-called free market system which she viewed as the bane of ordinary folks. After all, how else can the top one percent of the wealthy own 140 trillion dollars or half the world’s wealth. The excesses were so pervasive. The institutions were so large that their failure will destroy civilization as we knew it, and therefore as unshakeable as the sun. And so went the tale.

      ‘These people who infest—yes it’s an infestation especially of the money markets; the commodity markets; and the energy markets. These vermin perched in their glass towers peck away on the powerlines between the goods and service providers—people who provide real value—on one end of the conduit and the consumers on the tail end. These remorseless monsters leverage on algorithmic trading. Their relentless buying and selling—basically shuffling virtual paper—add no value to the products and services but they drive up prices. An item that takes a dollar to produce ends up costing the consumer multiple times more. The system enslaves people. You, me, and our children, and our grandchildren. The pharaoh is very much alive and so is slavery. For all the hyperbole bombarding us regarding the virtues of our modern civilization, in matters of governance our evolution is a delusion.’

      Thunderous clapping erupted in the auditorium. When question time came, a reporter of a major media outlet and known sympathizer of big money took the mike.

      ‘Are you proposing communism?’ he asked

      ‘That’s another lame attempt to distract from the issue,’ shot back Kirsten. ‘I’m not against the free market and I’m not against ordinary folks wanting to invest in sound businesses.’

      The packed auditorium fell silent.

      ‘Indulge me,’ said the reporter, and added to a small ripple of sniggers. ‘Please.’

      ‘If you insist, and for the umpteenth time, you bid and buy something, you take delivery,’ said Kirsten. ‘You don’t churn! You buy something, you take delivery. That’ll attract genuine buyers to the markets and weed out the punters who game the system and drive up prices.’

      That reporter and other plants who attempted similar questions were shouted down amidst reverberating applause.

      Not surprisingly, the video recording of the event failed due to a technical glitch and a few weeks later Kirsten died in a motor accident.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  5. Yap, and I was hoping Mr Needle Eye will accept bribery like hell money since he does not recognize the riches on earth, LOL.

    1. Hello Windy, my dear,

      As usual you come up with some out-of-my-horizon ideas. Bribing with hell money. Hmm, gives me some ideas. Hope you like the story that follows the haiku.

      Cheers,
      Eric

      Grease helps open doors
      What lies within is unknown
      Cross threshold. Good luck!

      Lying on his deathbed, Kashing, the billionaire casino owner summoned Abang Prahu, a dukun who had a formidable reputation in the black arts.

      Kashing beckoned with a feeble hand and his PA handed over a banker’s order, issued by a bank which Kashing owned, for one hundred million dollars to Abang Prahu. The dukun slipped the money into his pocket.

      The PA handed over another money order, this time made out for a billion dollars, also issued by a bank which Kashing owned.

      Abang Prahu went into ritualised prayers and after several hours, during which time Kashing’s condition steadily deteriorated, he burned the billion dollar money order and mixed the ash in rice wine. And he fed the wine to Kashing.

      ‘The prahu* will carry you from this world of delusion,’ said Abang Prahu. ‘Your money will be waiting for you in the world of reality, and you will live a glorious life.’

      Kashing breathed his last. Abang Prahu locked eyes with the PA for several pronounced seconds before letting himself out.

      The PA smiled to himself.

      (* prahu – sailing vessel)

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Jane dear,

      You’re very right. If only we can unload much of the “stuff”, many otherwise inaccessible doors become thoroughfares for us. But for most of us, the gap between knowing and doing is so very wide, isn’t it?

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      Hugz for you too, buddy 🙂
      Eric

      False gods give false hopes
      Truth is known to all who see
      Most look but don’t see

      ‘How many trapped in the manhole?’ asked the captain, shouting above the lashing storm.

      ‘Three,’ shouted back the fireman. ‘A man at the top, followed by his wife, and their daughter.’

      A car had crashed into a roadside railing and plunged into the water logged monsoon drain. When the occupants slipped out, the currents had carried them below ground. By some miracle the family managed to clamber up a manhole ladder. But they were stuck and the water rising fast.

      ‘Well, pull them out.’

      ‘We can’t, captain. The guy is stuck but won’t let go of his backpack.’

      ‘What’s in his backpack? Their lives?’

      Hours later, rescuers fished out three bodies from the sea. The couple had used their daughter as decoy and robbed a goldsmith. In their hurry to get away in the blinding storm, their car had skidded.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Ian,

      You’re right, all religions hold out hope.

      Thank you, for that needle pun. LOL! 🙂

      All good wishes for the week ahead,
      Eric

      Needle point focus
      Energy concentrated
      Break through resistance

      ‘We can’t fight that and hope to survive, Bey,’ said Aybüke Bey.

      Spread out below them in the plains was a huge army, their numbers more numerous than locusts.

      ‘Only if we offer battle on their terms,’ said Cihangir Bey, chieftain of the Karasy Beylik.

      ‘What do you propose, Bey?’ said Durul Bey. His eager horse fidgeted with nervous energy.

      ‘We wait till they enter the hills. Then, you Durul Bey, will engage the enemy’s right flank and break. Make them believe you’re fleeing in panic. Draw out their skirmishers.’ Cihangir Bey wheeled his horse, faced front again and said,

      ‘When the enemy breaks formation, you, Aybüke Bey will lead your Alps over that rise on the left flank, and head for the Khan’s standards.’

      ‘Will the ruse work, Bey?’ asked Aybüke Bey.

      ‘That’s not an army,’ said Cihangir Bey. ‘That’s a rabble of rowdy tribals eager for personal glory. The discipline of our Alps will be like a needle that pierces the Khan’s leather armour and finds his heart.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Good to know, Martin 🙂

      Cheers,
      Eric

      Haiku resonates
      Triggers thoughts, beliefs, events
      Truth needs but few words

      He was the wealthiest man in the village.

      He did not live in a mansion. He did not possess horse drawn carriages, not even a skinny cow drawn cart. He did not own herds of cattle or goats or vast fields of padi or corn. Wives? He could not afford to support a woman, let alone a family.

      ‘When he dies, his seed will die with him,’ they said. And many felt sorry for him—but only fleetingly. For, he had nothing.

      But he was the wealthiest man in the village.

      No one could see his wealth. No one acknowledged his wealth.

      And he died the wealthiest man in the village.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. Hello Colin,

        I deliberately left out what made him the “wealthiest man”. We all view “wealth” differently. Most relate it to “money” and similar mundane stuff.

        Others view love, happiness, health, children (though it does not apply in the case of this man in the story), friends, humility, compassion, and similar attributes as wealth.

        Take your pick(s) and fill in the blank.

        But I agree with the thrust of your comment: the story does not fit the format for flash fiction. I’ll keep this in mind when trying to pass off my “stories” as flash fiction.

        Thank you for your query and I hope you accept my explanation.

        Cheers,
        Eric

      2. Far from been obtuse, your comments always make me rethink my words and motives. And I thank you for that, Colin.

        Here is a little haiku, related to my earlier reply to you:

        Choose your attributes
        Master your own destiny
        Bricks to build your home

        Haiku copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

Leave a Reply to Eric Alagan Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: