A Rose for the Living

May 28, 2014

A Rose for the Living

When I breathed my last, I heard wailing,
when I was alive, I mostly heard complaining.
My own said how much they loved me,
how I longed to hear those words when there was life in me.

The marigolds and roses on my coffin I cannot smell,
till death without a single flower I had to dwell.
The tons of flowers on my body weigh me down,
now suffocating my very soul.

My brothers robbed me of what was mine in right,
with no guilty conscience they sleep soundly at night.
Why don’t you fight for your rights, some poked,
how can I pack half-an-acre in the coffin, I joked.

They meant well, for fortune looked the other way,
My treasure are my children I would often say.
What a nice person near my coffin some said,
a helping hand they kept in their closed hearts instead.

How I ached to speak at home,
seal your lips, they would intone.
As I laid counting my hours, please speak, they lamented;
my sickness has me exhausted and weak, I pleaded.

I had a drink or two after the sun hid behind the shores,
to soothe the aching nerves brought on by all the chores.
The whisky will surely kill you someday my wife grumbled;
your harsh words do it everyday, I mumbled.

I may not have gathered riches, 
but a kind heart I did possess. 
Nor did I soar like an eagle,
preferring instead aloofness, and a life minimal.

I wronged my loved ones at times I must profess,
my heart yearned with regret I do confess.
Beyond the grave I cannot anything tenderly give,
I can only hope that you will forgive.

We live as if we are never going to die,
and die as if we have never lived.
Life is short, life is short, we introspect;
barely realizing death will come on a day we least expect.

O don’t, O don’t, shed tears for me,
God is infinitely merciful you will one day see.
Come, my child, He says, I ached when you were in pain;
let my light envelop you and may you never see darkness again. 

No garland around my photo and no requiem can ever come close,
to the place in heaven God for me has now chose.
Wonderful is indeed the Almighty;
for His love and mercy knows no boundary.

Someday, I pray, the same God to unite us;
living our lives with no regrets ever to pain thus.
Cry no more over my grave, nor have any regrets;
I take with me small moments of joy that life offered.

A few good words, a rose for the living, are far more prized,
than all the wreaths, bouquets and mourning at the coffin side.
Spare every now and then a rose for the living, 
a gesture of love ignites the very soul with fresh breathing. 

By Oliver Sutari
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Comment on this article

  • Sandra D'Souza, Manipal

    Tue, Jun 17 2014

    Facts of life beautifully brought out I thought you write only articles.Read the poem Very niceJust one thing: Life Is beautiful when we live to keep the Lifegiver happy


  • Renny Lobo (Rodrigues), Gurpur Kaikamba/ Abu Dhabi

    Thu, Jun 05 2014

    Oliver- Excellent and meaningful poem especially the last para of the poem is very touching. Nice to know that you are a poet too.

    Rita- Well commented and wish your comments be read by many and those who ill treat their old and bedridden parents.

  • sangeeta, shirva

    Thu, Jun 05 2014

    Beautiful....simply superb...i rarely read poems..but this article really keeps to connected to read it full..really liked it

  • Gladys Roche, Kundapur

    Wed, Jun 04 2014

    Good! Keep it up.
    Keep writing such beautiful poems. Like to read more.

  • Peter, Bolkunje/Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 04 2014

    Excellent thoughts conveyed in a poetic way. You are a cut above the rest Oliver. Keep on writing. May all who read your poems and articles resurrect.

  • janette dsouza, m'lore/b'lore

    Tue, Jun 03 2014

    Hats off Oliver. You are simply genius! Why don't you compile all your works under "Pears of Wisdom"
    as someone rightly said? I will be the very first buyer. I am a great great fan of your write ups. Yeh dil maange more:-)

  • leena sutari, bandra,mumbai

    Tue, Jun 03 2014

    dear olly beautiful poem, when we leave this world, we only leave our memories behind.

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Tue, Jun 03 2014

    Thanks Oliver for such a beautiful and meaningful poem!!True meaning/essence of life, which if everybody could understand the world would be a very loving place like heaven itself!!

    There is very beautiful Urdu Qawali named "Chadta Suraj Dheere Dheere" which sums up the real futility of this short life and material possessions on earth would urge all to listen and understand the lyrics!!!

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Tue, Jun 03 2014

    Dear Rita Madam...
    Wish many many read your comment carefully. It is wonderfully put -the last sentence! And by the way
    I have in my life time seen at least 2 dead bodies smiling while family members around were trying crying .

  • Aneesh, manipal

    Tue, Jun 03 2014

    Dear Oliver sir, very heart touching poem. Thank you for that.

  • Rita, Germany

    Mon, Jun 02 2014

    A very good thought for the living who think of living for ever .some are going A bit further before the dead one is not even under the earth of asking how much he has left behind and who gets what and important how much I get.I remember one Family ,where mother was Demenz(forgetting in old Age)she used to urinate now and then out of toilet and son was hitting her with a stick and at last when she died had a Grand dinner for monthly mass which she missed as she was living.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Mon, Jun 02 2014

    Asthanaa Kedhala 'Sartha' Monun Raakthat
    Morthar Phoolaan Galthaat
    Tho Gelo Haavn Urlo Ashen Chinthaat
    Urlo Kon Sarlo Kon Hangaa
    Ille Vichaar Karoon Saangyat!
    Baab Oliver...Haavn Asthanaa
    Maajo Hodlo Namaskaar Geyaath....

  • Pallavi, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 02 2014

    Dear Oliver,
    A very beautiful and thought provoking poem, very apt as we are all, I think, guilty of reserving our best behavior for virtual strangers while hurting our nearest and dearest with thoughtless comments, or even the lack of well deserved praise which also causes deep resentment and hurt... Indeed, what we practice is like giving the rose to strangers and the thorns to our loved ones...Only to shed bitter tears and speak out our feelings when they are no more and our praise cannot reach them. A rose for the living is indeed what we should practice, thank you dear Oliver for the timely reminder.

  • William, US

    Sun, Jun 01 2014

    Very Beautiful!

  • Jacintha, Bahrain

    Sun, Jun 01 2014

    You are right, but who will think when a person is alive, everything is taken for granted. Only when he/she dies praises will flow. Human nature! Very good poem.

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Sun, Jun 01 2014

    Great poem of insight, spiritual and spiritually guiding.

  • Francis Passanha, Manipal

    Sat, May 31 2014

    Dear Oliver,
    I am at loss for words at your lovely poem, bringing out the subtle truths of life. True we have no concern for our near and dear ones when they are living, yet shed copious tears when they depart.
    Pardon me for taking liberties, and with your permission would like to draw an analogy to your thoughtful poem, especially when jokes are cracked from the pulpit. I am no Bard, yet I have just penned a few lines on my palm, out of agony when PJs are cracked in sermons:
    'A rose for the living,
    is a thought worth pondering,
    A rose for the dead,
    is priorities misread.

    The Word of God broken,
    is sermon well taken.
    Cracking jokes while preaching,
    is Word of God breaching.

    Thank you for the inspiration. Look forward to many more poems flowing from your pen, for newer insights that we overlook.

  • Lucy Rodrigues, Moodubelle/Mumbai

    Sat, May 31 2014

    Meaningful and very touching. Thank you so much.

  • Oliver Sutari, Manipal

    Fri, May 30 2014

    Dear Ronnie,

    Gave me goosebumps reading your comments! I had no clue it stirred the senses so much. Thank you so much for your generous comments. About near death and out-of-body experiences, all I can say Ronnie, for the moment, is that the universe is full of infinite possibilities. I too am intrigued by it. Let's talk when we next meet.

  • Rony Menezes, Manipal, Muscat

    Fri, May 30 2014

    Oliver, now this is another one up, amongst your many stirring write-ups poetically though (while for a change), clearly awakened goose bumps for all we mortals living on this materialistic being what we call planet-earth here under and how well you stir up the mortal souls is just amazing. Tell me do we all meet up there at the real end of our journey? I follow having read many testimonies relating to Trans journey of OBE and NDE (out of body / near death) experiences. Quite intrigued, look up to, you would probably wish to share on this next.
    Your just recent write up referring now on archives, Forgiveness: An Often Forgotten Act has been most inspiring.
    Look forward to our meet again. Best wishes to you and family.

  • Anil, Udupi

    Fri, May 30 2014

    Oliver...very nice, very thought provoking!

  • Anil Pinto, Mumbai/Abu Dhabi

    Thu, May 29 2014

    Thank you. You've once again touched a raw nerve. We often forget the obvious and need a reminder. I've noticed that your writings do just that. Simple but reaching the core of our being.

  • Aaron, Mumbai

    Thu, May 29 2014

    Deep and meaningful. Amazingly beautiful.

  • Ashok Kumar, Udupi

    Thu, May 29 2014

    Great Oliver! Keep it up. I didn't know you were a poet. Keep writing and share this great talent of yours with everyone.

  • Aladdin Pais, Mangalore / Mumbai

    Thu, May 29 2014

    Neat one... Very much like the saying " Give a rose while he / she is here rather than a wreathe once he / she is gone."

  • Laila Pinto, Mangalore

    Thu, May 29 2014

    Beautiful poem.. very touching & thought provoking...

  • John DSouza, Mangalore

    Wed, May 28 2014

    Excellent, Mr. Sutari, the experience after death, which still talks about this attractive world
    Surely, a rose for the living is greater than a vast garden of roses for the dead, who can’t feel
    Like, living dog is powerful than dead lion and a bird in hand is valuable than flock of birds in sky
    Taking care and enjoying the great moments of life is worthy, which helps to be grateful to God
    Good to look at the facts and affairs when alive instead of doing the post mortem after death
    The real happiness is in offering and giving than expecting and receiving, which never satisfies
    The inspiring words of JFK, the question “what I have given to my county” is really encouraging
    Let us follow the way of Lord, who emptied himself for the redemption of us, the weak humans
    As our elders have rightly noted, no favour can satisfy human and no decoration is useful to dead
    Recognizing our life is short like grass and uncertain like not catchable air, is our real wisdom

  • Deepa Dumblekar, Bangalore

    Wed, May 28 2014

    Well said,Olive. The last paragraph is very touching. Sadly people don't realise often. God bless you with lots of love from your dear ones while you are still alive :)

  • Dr. Lavina Noronha, Mangalore

    Wed, May 28 2014

    Dear Mr. Sutari, Great pearls of wisdom to live by. It is really unfortunate that we get so entangled in the triangle- name, fame and fortune that we stray from the essence of life. Indeed if all of us try to gift or better yet be 'a rose for the living', this world would be a better place.

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Wed, May 28 2014

    Time and again age old Tulu adage is endorsed
    Dead buffalo yields always a liter of milk more!

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