The Vicarious Pain (Poem)


The Generalissimo fell yesterday,

was vanquished by the Conquistador.

Abject was the humiliation-

Pummelled from the very beginning,

Bludgeoned to provide the coup de grace.

I did not fight alongside the General,

Did not raise his banner nor shed my blood,

Neither took blows, nor hit back for the Cause,

There are no wounds I have given, or received,  

Why do I feel sick and numb and down and dead?

The Generalissimo fell on the field,

Performing his karma-fighting, attempting

to give some back, failing in the quest-

helpless, choked off the very life breath,

Fell, with the satisfaction of having fought.

With the knowledge that he had tried and failed,

That the Conquistador was far better,  

And that no one else could have prevailed,

The General must have felt contented,

He laid it all out there, but was not enough.

What he must have felt was physical pain-

Niggles, boils, exhaustion-having come cropper,

Of getting resoundingly beaten,

Overwhelmed, conquered, vanquished, checkmated-

Could he have done anything differently?

The camp followers’ pain is vicarious-

The sinking emptiness of impotence,

The shame of spectators’ inaction,

Never good enough to take the field-

But quite alive to insults and loss of face.

We are stuck in our tents and cocoons,

Disgusted, disembowelled, since he lost,

The vicarious pain hurts deeper than the gnash

that would have ultimately bled him to death,

What else can now be done, but to bear this?

The General fought and lost- and has passed on,

We bragged about his exploits, trod in his name,

We glowed in his glory, basked in his fame,

Spat out in arrogance, our turn to be shamed,

Live with this ignominy, live through this pain.

Which among the two is more intense?

The lament at the loss felt by the player,

Or the empathic gloom that clouds over the fans?

Those in thick of the battle suffer more,

or those who cheer from the safety of sidelines?

#englishpoem #englishpoetry #poetry #thevicariouspain #pain #vicarious #empathic #ignominy #generalissimo #conquistador #brag #fans #campfollower

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