Lost in Rhythm

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment.
There is no why.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Time and Life, whether you want it or not, have a way of going in circles. Ideally, you’d want it to be a linear path—you’d always know where you were going, you’d always be able to move on and leave everything else behind. Instead, you always find yourself where you had begun. You forget things you try to remember. You remember things you’d rather forget. The most frightening thing about memory is that it leaves no choice. It has mastered an incomprehensible art of forgetting. It erases, it smudges, and it fills in the blank spaces with details that don’t exist.

But however you remember it—or choose to remember it—the past is the foundation that holds your life in place. Without its support, you’d have nothing for guidance. What defines you isn’t “where you’re going”, but “where you’ve been”. There are things that will never change, things you will carry along always.

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. What you perceive as precious is not ‘time’, but the one point that is ‘out of time’: the Now. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.

Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decrease, regrets mount. Time is such a waste of time to think about, because the longer you reflect on it, the more of it you lose. Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream. So, flow with the rhythm and start counting how many Now’s you’ve collected and preserved yet!

Owing to some liminal displacement, my thoughts got a bit carried away. Hence, this poetic outcome:

From distant portals of the past,
Escaped three brothers of sorrow –
One, the past himself
And one, strangely, tomorrow.
The third is a slaphappy jester,
With no gift, no cost;
Who among the brethren
Sunk in a Babel of voices, all lost.

For the past is a monster, submerged
In the sea of his own tears;
And the future is a gambler, veiled
With the mist of unborn fears.
But the present is the panderer
Of things that now are frost,
And soon will become past himself –
The first shall be the last, all lost!

Unaware, unnerved, they waltz
With steps of sure disaster;
And the music of their unceasing frolic
Grows bolder, and ever faster!
For the past is an artful dodger,
With nimble wits of a Faust,
Leading the present and the future
Back to the pit, all lost.


This verse is inspired by Fabrizio Paterlini’s Modern Classical composition, “Not from the Past, Not for the Future.” Paterlini (b. 1973) is an Italian contemporary music composer and pianist, and lives in the ancient north Italian city of Mantua. A romantic and historically significant centre of musical and artistic excellence, the city’s elegance and cultural depth permeate Paterlini’s exquisite original solo piano compositions.

Listeners and critics alike are torn as to how unequalled Paterlini’s beautiful compositions sound. Neo-classical, Ambient, Minimalist and New Age have all been considered, but it is more pertinent to note some of the adjectives regularly used in appreciation of his sonic palette: Ethereal, soulful, lush, emotive, dreamy, delicate and, tellingly, passionate, all appear with unerring frequency. The composer himself describes his work as “like a glass of red wine on a summer evening,” in awareness of the calming effect his reflective melodies have on the listener.

Listen to this mellisonant track, and transcend all barriers of time… 🙂

© Tanumoy Biswas and The Nomadic Soliloquist 2013. All Rights Reserved.

18 comments on “Lost in Rhythm

  1. Hmmm bujhlam… tor chintadhara ekhon khub bhalo, khub praptomonoshko. As for the poem, first para osadharon, simply osadharon… shesh’er tao tai, aschorjo! Majher ta ektu halka laglo.

  2. “Time is such a waste of time…” each time I read a piece written by you I am freshly amazed by your power of conjuring up pictures with your words… the Past, Present and Future although abstract were visible to me through your words… I could picture them as individuals… Thank you for giving us such wonderful experiences… And the background music adds to the feel of the poem… All in all, amazing it is! 🙂

  3. Ah, that onerous, yet mesmeric Waltz we are obliged with. Your ‘three brothers’ have captured the mind and immersed the thoughts in an abysmal void — a dance I dare keep myself away from. Offer me world and gold, still, I shall only take my steps in tandem to the jester’s. Alas! 

    And… the musical piece is just wonderful! Nothing quite like the caress on a piano. Thank you for sharing! *smile*
    Huzoor, just continue waltzing and guiding us to our own forgotten selves through the brilliance of your mind. Or is it your heart? 

    • Your kind words of appreciation is the greatest gift. Can’t thank you enough for the amount of inspiration you leave behind with every read of my humble offerings.

      I guess, its the chaotic interaction of the heart, the soul and the mind which guides me. And with fellow sailors like you, the voyage is as pleasant as it can be. *bow* 🙂

    • Ah, thank you so much! Really glad to finally have you here! I’m a great fan of your writings. Such versatility you possess! Utter bliss to go through them. 🙂

      Keep visiting. Best wishes. 🙂

      • I’m very flattered and blushing; my humble thoughts and writings, while voiced from the heart, do not compare to the eloquence I see here; so I’m very moved by the comment. Thank you. Best wishes to you also. I look forward to following your posts.

  4. Beautiful imagery! I enjoyed this poem immensely. This deceivingly simple sentence, at least to this heart, is the essence that explains our ‘now’, and the possibilities of our future:
    “What defines you isn’t ‘where you’re going’, but ‘where you’ve been’.”

    And the older I get, the more this almost becomes a mantra. Thank you for this validation today. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, sir. You honour me greatly with your kind words of appreciation. 🙂
      Well sir, age is one aspect of our mortal lives we have no control over… but our ‘now’… yes, to that we can show our resilience, and make the aging a sweet adventure for ourselves. 🙂

      Best wishes

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