Ram Sudama

Creative Arts


I've been writing poetry off and on since I was in my early teens. I sometimes recite poetry during my music gigs, and of course, the songs I write are also a form of poetry (a few of which are included here). The poems are presented in chronological order. You might be advised to start from the end as I would like to think some things have improved with age.

One day I had nothing to do (1964)

Crowds teaming (1964)

You say to be good, (1964)

Man Discovers the Ball-point Pen (1964)

Face It (1965)

One Way Out (1965)

Death is the end of Everything (1965)

Time can be measured (1965)

I’ve the right to pay taxes, (1965)

Oh well (1965)

Bird in a Cage (1965)

The Nuremberg Laws (1965)

Prison Walls (1966)

The Blessed Saviour (1966)

See the people (1966)

God Should Be So Kind (1966)

I once the why and wherefore wanted (1967)

Lost At Sea (1971)

India (1985)

That’s The Way To Be (1985)

Untie Your Ribbons (1995)

It’s about time (unknown)

This life could be so grand (unknown)

Infinity stood still (unknown)

I definitely have a drummer’s ears (unknown)

If I could sing a rock (unknown)

When God Whispered (unknown)

Free The People (2003)

Soften my days with dreams (2010)

Castlecrag (2014)

My World Has No Boundaries (2015)


One day I had nothing to do

so I wandered from here to there
Not knowing what I wanted
and not caring
and enjoying myself immensely
and being bored sometimes,
But not too much,
and then I saw a slide;
I thought  ’how easy it would be
to slide down that slide
and give myself something to do,
allowing me to forget
that I want to do nothing’
But I walked right past it
and went on
and swung on the swing.

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Crowds teaming

for a cause,
helping one another,
crisis called to help themselves,
now are
Crowds teeming.

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You say to be good,

to believe what is true,
accept it as you did,
without much ado,
I’ll have plenty to eat then,
and plenty to drink
but I wish that you would
                Just let me think
I can say what is right,
I can say what is wrong,
I can say what you’ve wanted
to hear all along,
I can really say little,
I usually find
You won’t let me say
                What’s on my mind

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Man Discovers the Ball-point Pen

like a freshly painted warship on display,
with chrome;
shiny, like the pans we have at home.
a clip,
to stick it in your pocket;
a tip
that’s like that of a rocket,
and blunt
upon the other end,
like ships, which to the moon we send.
a button on the side, you push
to flatten both ends, if you wish;
another button on the top,
which pushes down
and comes back up.
The lower end, lightly applied
to paper, leaves aline pre-dried;
I’d like to know what makes it work,
but really, I’m afraid to look.
It’s made in halves that would unscrew,
it seems a simple thing to do,
but something might happen, I don’t want to lose it,
so as a result, I just won’t use it.

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Face It

walking down the street,
and somebody,
walking along beside you,
holds a gun up to your head
with the hammer cocked,
and I mean all the way back;
so you know your knife
will kill him too.
small consolation.
you both keep walking,
each trying to pull ahead
and not succeeding,
but doing a pretty good job
of convincing yourself
that he’s not there.
but the corner of your eye
will never lie,
so face it.

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One Way Out

I hear I should be patriotic;
I hear I should go to church;
I hear we have the most liberal educational system in the world,
and I hear that Tide soap cleans whiter than All, which outcleans the all;
You can take this for what it’s worth;
that people are a nice bunch, in general,
and you may accept the seemingly conflicting advice to love thine enemy and hate the Red Chinese,
But I hear all these things,
and they go in my head
and won’t come out,
because I am afflicted
with the disease
of thought.
I could let them out
by making a hole
in the side of my head
with a bullet;
But I won’t,
because I am afflicted
with the disease
of thought.

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Death is the end of Everything

Death is the end of everything;
of this you can be sure.
To assume man’s soul has eternal life
is like assuming there is no end to the universe,
or a bottom to the ocean.
To face death is to face reality,
yet to meet death is to escape it.
To accept death is to forsake life,
but to refute it is to never live.
We live neither for death not against it;
neither because of nor in spite of it.
We live with death.
Death is the end of everything,
and everything ends in death.
Death – which puts an end
to buy now pay later,
and at once is its cause and effect.
Death – which gives depth to men’s lives,
then cuts them short.
Death – the eternal contraceptive.

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Time can be measured

in more ways than one
by the speed of light
or electron run
But the only
really important way
is units of people
passed away

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I’ve the right to pay taxes,

the right to enlist,
the right to make jokes
when a moon shot has missed,
You’ve given me something –
a place to belong,
but all that I want
   is the right to be wrong
You give me a background
both free and stable,
in a country of citizens
willing and able,
who think they van tell me
who’s good and who’s sinned,
I’d really much rather
  Inherit the wind

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Oh well

you are so deep,
and I am very thirsty,
but the water in the bucket is stale;
the rope must be broken,
it will not reach the bottom.
I cannot fathom you
Oh well

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Bird in a Cage

Have you ever
had a bird in a cage for a long, long time
and watched it sing
and one day you opened the door
and it did not fly away
but kept on singing
Crazy bird

(won a poetry award from Annapolis High School in 1965)

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The Nuremberg Laws

They were right, no
one could invade the purity of their race distilled
by heating and removing the gaseous waste.
They were right, no,
they thought they were right.

They were wrong, yes,
to try to give the world its just desserts,
because when all the flames have died away
what's left of our souls
might not be worth saving.
And we know, no
one has the right, no,
one has the right,
but only for oneself,
and even then one must be kind
for kindness only come in drops.

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Prison Walls

We’re locked in a prison
for time ad infinitum
with all the world’s people,
not just some,
who like me,
are striving to see
just how small our cells
are really meant to be.
And the ceckered shaft through the barred window
is thought to be all that we’re supposed to know,
and morally the only
field we can hoe,
and be right; but there are some here
who think this restriction is grounded on fear,
that the light is only a means to an end,
to be used as a bridge, as a way to make clear
what’s in the shadows.

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The Blessed Saviour

Soft the wind blows ,
and swift the bird goes
                through the sky,
                but the eye
of the eagle on high
is caught, and observes,
as he swings through his curves,
                the fine show
                from below
of his feathered fellow.
He suddenly stops,
and quickly he drops
                on the bird,
who is soon to be cured
of his need to survive,
so that others might thrive.
                He is felled,
                he is held,
he is unparalleled,
                as a saviour of eagles.

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See the people

See the people in the street,
not afraid to lie and cheat;
See them fighting with each other,
setting brother versus brother.
See them throw their lives away,
afraid to live from day to day.
See the fly upon the wall
and crown him lord of all.
Civilized society
is something they will never see.
They have far too much ambition
to form a working coalition.
They disregard all other men,
who in their turn disregard them.
See the fly upon the wall,
and crown him lord of all.
All other species subjugate
to man, he thinks that is their fate.
He keeps them all in constant fear,
they hide away when he is near.
They cannot doubt the might of man,
this impudence he will not stand.
He sees the fly upon the wall
and crowns him.

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God Should Be So Kind

Man is a revolting creature
                failure comes to those who try;
Crudeness marks his every feature,
                brave men quickly die.
All men are created equal,
                no life has a meaning;
Nothing equals nothing equals…
                being’s only seeming.
People can be trusted never,
                right can never be defined;
Mankind will not last forever,
                God should be so kind.

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I once the why and wherefore wanted;

once undaunted, no more haunted.
Long and long ago it seems
those stars were silver – now are green.
And not so long ago I found
and now am willing
that pole to slide down-up which once
I up and clambered down.

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Lost At Sea

You know I’ve been drifting since that ship went down.
Need a star to guide me where I might be found.
But those stars just stare at me, they’ve got troubles of their own.
So I’ll sail on.
Waves wash me up and down some Almighty plan.
From every peak I search desperately for land.
It’s not that I feel lost at sea, I just don’t know where I am.
But I’ll sail on.
Blankets of darkness pulled across the sky
let another yesterday pass me in the night.
With all this water ‘round me now, won’t do no good to cry.
So I’ll sail on. I’ll sail on and on and on.

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Roads come alive at dawn and weave
patterns of confusion in my heart and mind
as I try to shake
the dust
of teeming humanity from my soul.
And, sidestepping the residue
of last night’s scanty fare, I come
at last upon the gates
of some forgotten God’s repose.
To stand inside
and wonder why, and how,
and when He lost the charm
of ages gone and now forgotten.
Oh Lord! Why have you forsaken
these gentle people
and left them holding rituals
in lifeless monotones.
their stilted cadence
superfluous to all
while children cry for lack of inspiration
and others simply ignore.
By night, the festivals of
noise abuse my ears
and dogs cry of incarnations
Is it worse, then, to be drowned
in the acceptance of mediocrity,
or lost in the illusion of perfection?

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That’s The Way To Be

If I was a bird, I’d sail into the sun ‘til the morning comes.
I’d fly so high I never would come down for anyone.
That’s the way to be happy; that’s the way to be free;
that’s the way to be what you are and that’s the way to be me.
If I was a fish, I’d swim beneath the sea for eternity.
I’d dive so deep, I never would be found; just a memory.
That’s the way to be happy…
If I was a seed, I’d bury in the ground and make no sound.
I’d take my time, and I’d grow into a tree with rings around.
That’s the way to be happy…
If I was a soul, I’d merge into the lord without a word.
I’d pass away, and I never would return back into the world.
That’s the way to be happy…

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Untie Your Ribbons

I’ve got you, mama, all wrapped up in me.
I’ve got you, mama, all wrapped up in me.
So untie your ribbons, and light your Christmas tree.
Love has hit me like a falling star.
I said, love has hit me like a falling star.
So twinkle your moonbeams, and show me where you are.
I want you, mama, more than I can say.
I need you, mama, more and more each day.
So cry me a river, and wash my blues away.
I’ve got you, mama, all wrapped up in me.
I’ve got you, mama, all wrapped up in me.
So untie your ribbons, and set your spirit free.

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It’s about time

Someone got to the bottom of this
If all these mussels
Would stop squirting their little holes in the sand
Maybe the rest of us could get on with understanding the purpose of life
Who are they anyway
to wash up and hide beneath our feet
as if we had nothing better to do
than watch them breathing to the rhythm of the waves
She sure doesn’t give a fly
about who knows when
or which little grain is going to get lost on the beach
Maybe you thought
that you were some special kind of fish
that never swallowed a scallop
or breathed a smell
maybe isn’t maybe anymore
and the longer it takes
to dig your own little hole in the sand
the faster we’ll all be watching you

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This life could be so grand

if I could only raise the lid a little
to let the sound out
or people in
to hear which strings I left unstopped
So clever that idea
that once
when I was really music
I couldn’t even feel my own keys playing
A pedal here, a pedal there,
what difference
when we’re lost in time
to sound to touch
to bursting
from an old black Steinway
someone left
to dust and detune
in their empty theater
Who cares what songs they sing
as long as
my own board hasn’t cracked
I’ll spin the drum
and turn the roll
and make them come alive
to surround me with their gospel glory

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Infinity stood still

for a minute
and let Aristotle slip from the grave
Of course
what could he do
about things
now that things are different?
Plato would know better
but he missed the boat
which only comes around now and again
It could be that someone like you
or me even
but who would listen
to a bunch of washed up philosophers
who can’t even tie their logical shoestrings
I’d say
we’re better off waiting
for another Socrates
to take his own poison
and leave us
more or less enlightened
than to put all our mental eggs
in that basket
and float it on the river of time

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I definitely have a drummer’s ears

the zing, the pop, the wow, the flutter
resonates in my soul
like sticks on leather
the acoustical properties of life are not lost on me
each wooden chamber resonates
and draws me in
I feel addicted to those beautiful
analog sounds that ring and sing
in waves of pleasure and passion
each one unique
as flowers in a field
yet setting up a bet
that colors me
and carries me
from day to day to here to there
it can’t be stopped by stopping
like life, like love,
I hear it going on and on
I hear it as a drummer does
when drums become the drummer.

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If I could sing a rock

I might wake up knowing
which way the wind turns
and who made the sea blue
Singing rocks
isn’t easy
you know for all these common people
(like me)
who haven’t been there before
or came back after a fall
You start off thinking
or not
about what you know
or don’t
and then
it really hits you where it hurts
so hard
you feel you might pass out
you know you should pass out
but it
passes out of you
before you get a chance to
sing a rock
That’s why
not many rocks even get sung
these days

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When God Whispered

when god whispered
directly in my ear
he didn't speak of books
or stories made in someone's words
he didn't even sing songs
or recite silly poems
like this


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Free The People

Free the people in the jail.
Not everybody has a right to be there.
Think twice before you make your accusations.
Someday the finger might be pointing back at you.
Free the people.
Free the people from themselves.
They don’t know what they’re doing to each other.
It’s not right to set your expectations
for everyone to think and act like you.
Free the people.
Free the children in the schools.
There’s a war zone right inside the classroom.
You can’t learn when you’re looking on your shoulder.
Guns and knives will take away their lives.
Free the people.

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Soften my days with dreams

of bygone eras full of wonder.
The sun, the skies, the wind and seas,
the rocks and trees speak
as they have always spoken.
But who is listening? And
does it matter?
The who, the what, the how,
the why. We lose ourselves in why
until our thirst is quenched
and we feel satisfied
and full of knowing
all that which we have
forgotten to know.

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The helicopter set us down
in a small patch of nowhere;
we huddled in a corner
as the blades beat earth into our eyes.
I gave the thumbs up
but I was not so sure.
It was a struggle to keep on.

We were sent here because of something
that was left behind;
no one seems to know
the reason why.
So we go on looking.

I put one foot in front of the other
as the path takes us up and down;
the map is very poor.
I'm sure we must be on the trail
still, as we cross a huge field of boulders,
stepping from rock to rock
as if they could not move;
I do wonder how they got here.

Anyway, why do we keep on going north
when we are supposed to be heading east?
Finally, I know this is not the trail.
It is a trail, but not our trail.
It must belong to someone
who left these small piles of rocks
to mark the way

I know how to get back,
I just don't really know
where she is.

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My World Has No Boundaries

My world has no boundaries –
no lines or borders can contain my spirit.
There are no politics and no religions to define me.
I do not seek power because I am the power.
I have no need other than to Be.
Those who defy Nature with their evil will surely fail -
they will be turned to dust -
because Nature has no evil, it has only Nature.
It tolerates, but it does not allow.
How hollow are the dreams of those
who rest their heads on stones and speak
of uncertain certainties.
What would they know of my universe,
and how could I reach them through the fog
that settles around their camps?
Only Time will see, only Fate will hear,
only Love will reveal them to me.
As surely as the raging water leaps madly over the edge
and falls, with a roar, into the silent pool –
I will envelop them as well.

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