I thought You wanted
the fission of my pride—
the alpha crush of will
and the gamma burst of greed,
those half-lives of ego and conceit.
What You wanted was our fusion.

I didn’t mean it to be when I started it, but this poem ended up being an homage to a quotation from a poem written by Rabindranath Tagore, the brilliant and great Indian poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. It is from his book Fireflies, published in 1928:

While God waits for his temple to be built of love, men bring stones.

Lyn, my incredibly tasteful wife (in all things but john) bought me a small framed calligraphy collage of the quote and it hangs over my desk. It is a beautifully crafted piece, but does not, sadly enough, give any reference to its authorship—a tragedy really, as memory of such a writer should not slip from our conscience. (Thank heavens for the Internet.)

While my poem takes a more personal approach, my own assessment is that it is overlong, clumsy and a country bumpkin when compared to the pithy, terse and emotionally explosive Tagore poem. But on the other hand, there really is no comparison between the two, only admiration of mine for a master at his craft.

Thank you for reading Atomicly. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge,


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Atomicly

  1. I love this poem of yours, John. It stayed in my mind and heart and teased me with its meaning/s.
    Rabindranath Tagore is a new name for me. In fact I started writing purposely not reading oher poets as I didn’t want to be influenced. I would love to read Fireflies, and will google to see if there is a copy on the net. This quote is so apt:
    ‘While God waits for his temple to be built of love, men bring stones.’
    Thank you for an exceptional post and for a very interesting blog.

    • Adeeyoyo,
      Thank you very much for a very kind email. I appreciate it very much. I consider this very high praise from the author of “Wild Moon Night”! Having just read some of your work (and following your blog while I was there) I look forward to many cross reads in the future. Again, thank you!

      As to Fireflies, try it here:

      I have to ask. Who is the puppy?