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The Offer


They made an offer, with a snigger, for my time.
Begrudgingly, I complied.
They made an offer, with a smile, for my labor.
Unhappily, I agreed.
They made an offer, with a grin, for my talent.
Wanly, I consented.
They made an offer , with a smirk, for my heart.
Sadly, I accepted.
They made an offer, with a wink, for my values.
Despairingly, I assented.
They made an offer, with a simper, for my autonomy.
In tears, I nodded.
They made an offer, with a sneer, for my culture.
In grief, I assented.
Then they made an offer, with a leer, for my soul.
And I said.
You know not, mon ami, what you ask.
You ask of me what you yourself, unknowingly, forfeited aeons ago, in your grand ‘enlightenment’.
You took from me all you could take, if more than I could give:
my time, labor, talent, heart, values, autonomy, and culture.
But now you ask of me the one thing that is impossible, the one thing that is non-tradable.
You cleared the underbrush of values, affections, and loyalties,
and built a House on Greed alone, and termed it Progress.
You sprayed its environs with the lethal toxins of raw materialism, to disinfect it, permanently, of any and all possible anthropic norms.
What a grand mess of pottage, resulted: yes, a truly Gross, Domestic, Pottage!
And where has it brought you?
Look about you!
To the very brink of assured , mutual, annihilation.
So, I am sorry, but I intend to keep my soul.
And one day, if we both survive, you will come to me, and trade all of your gaudy accumulations to savor, again, but a smidgeon of it; to recall what you surrendered on your way to the crass stupefaction of the senses , that is the vainglorious, profligate, coin of the realm of the ‘first world‘.
And then, just possibly, you might relearn the primal mantras of anthropic decency: mutual care, consideration, and conviviality.

No, I blame you not, in any of this.
For the chains simply fell upon you, as you slept, deep in dogmatic slumbers, for centuries, imagining that you were building the “best of all possible worlds”.
The most unbreachable prisons can oft be the ones that the inmates build themselves, lovingly, in their lapidary ignorance?.


© R.Kanth 2023


Professor Rajani Kanth, is Author of Coda (A Novel), A Day in the Life (Novel), and Expiations (Verse), and Farewell to Modernism (Political Economy Tract).

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