Monologue 2020 – a Poem by Tapati Gupta


What am I ?

Just a unit in time.

A little more than a century now  since WW 1.

Looking behind me I see a vista of years

Torn asunder by strife, greed, cupidity, hatred, genocide.

Nature devastated in the name of progress,

Ravished and cropped with deadly poison

so that crops grow aplenty at the cost of your health.

There is of course a vibrating optimism,

A faith in scientific innovation for the good of humanity,

Stretching beyond the limits of the universe,

Traversing other worlds, ambitious for expansion,

Dreaming of making beneficent drugs from lunar rocks,

As if enough has not been done already to make life long

Till you live on without zest, sans teeth, sans eyesight, sans brain

sans all but a faintly breathing heart,

And when that malfunctions your life can still be ticking

with a battery powered machine.

The whole world is evolving towards artificiality

You are also experimenting how youth can be prolonged and ageing delayed.

You blame me for covidisation of the wolrd

But have you ever analysed your own misdeeds ?

You call me a bad year, the worst ever in living memory

Yet I am just a unit in time, an aeon in the panorama of Time.

The virus sure is more lethal than previous ones

May be it is nature’s experimentation on human guinea pigs.

You have used nature to serve your purpose of wielding power

On other species, other human enemies

 to kill whom

 you devised biological, chemical and what -not weapons.

You have neglected nature’s beautiful creations,

You have polluted beautiful minds, made them cry even in sleep

Yet you blame me for covidising the world!

I, 2020 have given you occasion for self-searching,

For submerging yourselves in sunshine and waterfalls,

In learning to trust your own abilities, utilize your gifts,

By missing human contact you will learn to hold hands properly.

I, 2020 have united the whole world in common misery,

I, 2020 have tried to erase boundaries and made science achieve

common goals for humanity’s benefit

I, 2020 seek to erase the carbon footprints,

To re-plant forests, dismantle walls that separate   blacks and browns and whites.

I am no prophet and cannot say whether you will safe-keep

 the lessons learnt for future benefit

But surely you will realise you too are part of nature,

 You too are agents for creating its rhythm 

Do you realise that you, and not the stars, have initiated this covidisation ,

You have encouraged and aggravated it

It is up to you to cleanse yourselves before the malady starts dancing in the universe.

Before it bamboozles your intellect.

Stop blaming me.

Let me efface myself peacefully into ether.

May you re-achieve the zenith of perfection

But do not forget me, the dauntless 2020

Build me a memorial with grass flowers and thorns.                                                      



Tapati Gupta is a retired Professor of the Department of English, University of Calcutta and former Head of the Department. An erudite scholar, a theatre, arts and music aficionado and enthusiastic photographer, she continues to pursue new interests with indefatigable zeal.

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