They play the anthem
at the multiplex these days,
I’m not sure why-
it was just before a scratchy film,
on drugs and violence,
a discordant sequel
to the lilting crescendo
exalting the homeland,
its opening bars
flashed like lightning
up the aisle,
rows P through A
scrambling out of their seats
in the iridescent dark.

Oh, but they stood,
everyone of them
shoulders and feet drawn close,
away from their strange brethren.
They stood,
for a few minutes,
lips moving,
hearts beating,
pride foaming,
they stood together,
hands clamped to their sides,
in the soulful dark.

While imported cars mattered no more
than betel-stained bus stops,
while clothes and jewellery and cell phones
blurred in the tricolour glow,
while language was unnecessary;
While open eyes revered a single flag,
above one’s own, above another’s god,
for a few minutes
they stood together,
in the binding dark.

Above popcorn and coke,
in that cold theatre,
a motley crowd,
throats warm,
throats hoarse,
singing together,
feeling together,
eyes raised together,
in the way it mattered,
in the multiplex dark,
just before that bad movie,
standing together,
as one.

Linked to Dverse Poets

31 thoughts on “Prequel

  1. Your words convey that sense of unity of purpose…..that a group of such diverse people could be bound together in the dark is an amazing thing…..these lines especially speak to that:

    “While open eyes revered a single flag,
    above one’s own, above another’s god,
    for a few minutes
    they stood together,
    in the binding dark.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is amazing how the anthem can bring people together,
    across the lines that divide our cultures / social class, economic,
    job title, race, gender…it can all be forgotten for a moment
    and we all know the words —

    as I said elsewhere tonight,
    if only that would last. Kinda funny to me them showing it before
    movies, thouh I guess at one point in time they used to
    show it when the tv was going off for the night,
    back when tv went off at night. Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Strange how all anthems tend to be national. Patriotism unites as it separates: the ‘us’ it posits is effective only against a backdrop of ‘them’. The international anthem remains elusive. Lennon imagined it, sung it and is no more.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. True, sadly. If we didn’t have the history of fascism behind us and in front of us as the brutal theatres of the extreme right play out in front of our eyes, we could afford not to connect the dots. But we have and we cannot.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Much as one would like a universal sense of belonging, it isn’t a level playing field and everyone seems to be at a different starting point carrying their own unique load of baggage… this could take a while! Meanwhile, we write, we hope and we stay silent for John Lennon 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Here is Faiz on optimism:
            bala se hum ne na dekha to aur dekhenge
            farogh-e-gulshan-o-saut-e-hazaar ka mausam

            Loosely translated it conveys the sense of not caring a whit whether we live to see the promised dawn as others will be there to witness it; in a nutshell, the recipe for undying hope (saut-e-hazaar is the voice of the bulbul). 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I would love for the whole world to have an anthem that unites us that makes us feel like citizens of this earth. Yet, I love the way you describe the momentary unity at that movie theater while the national anthem was sung.


  5. Yes.. i suppose the real anthems
    of life.. regardless of
    specific purpose
    are the ones
    that hold
    sadly ‘here’
    it is often one
    of 911 proportions
    or more in catastrophic
    disaster to break the mold
    of eyes no longer connecting..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So if life gives you a bad movie, just crank up the anthem, & for a few minutes, there in the belly of the whale darkness, petty hates, greed, racism & cruelty can stand aside; lovely thought & metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PS Couldn’t get linky right; mine is here: ttp://


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