“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” 

(Roald Dahl)

Silence. Have you ever heard the mystifying silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you don’t have the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak; or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully. Autism is one such silence.

The world’s continual breathing is what we hear and call silence. And the language of this unexpressed silence is autism. It is neither a disease nor a disorder. It is about having a pure heart and being sensitive… It is about finding a way to survive in an overwhelming, confusing world… It is about developing differently, in a different pace and with different leaps. I believe God created autism to help offset the excessive number of boring people on Earth. In fact, nobody is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin and the galaxies swirl.

The reactions of the many should not affect the actions of the few. Being different is what sets you apart from everybody else in this world. It allows you to be unique. It allows you to process information in ways that people will never understand, and see things in ways that others would find unimaginable. It allows you to break free from the mould of society. You are beautifully unique and uniquely beautiful. You are not the same as anybody else, yet you are not different from them either.

Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.
This verse is one such moment of secret expression of love between a soul who is deemed ‘silent’ and another who could read the silence.

Like hidden fireflies, as your eyes meet mine

Even if for a moment, you make me feel shy,
Until your gaze with curiosity does entwine
And farther I run, to conceal and spy.

Forever had I decided to live with this lie
In my secret cellar, with all its vintage wine;
Yet my heart explodes and questions me ‘why’,
Like hidden fireflies, as your eyes meet mine.

I wish I could convey with words divine:
Alas, my thoughts only end with a sigh!
And as your eyes emit that sinless shine
Even if for a moment, you make me feel shy.

A thousand desires conspire and pry
From a casket of emotions, I won’t decline;
Like a wild pansy in a meadow, I silently espy
Until your gaze with curiosity does entwine.

My heart beats faster but I don’t yet whine,
As your coded love adorns my starless sky.
But the probing stare makes me tender and resign,
And farther I run, to conceal and spy.

It’s not your fault but my hopeless disguise
To hide from your gaze, to study your design:
But my heart does feel I should no more compromise
And so for each other we secretly pine,
Like hidden fireflies.


Rhyming form used: Rondeau Redoublé

rondeau (plural rondeaux) is a form of medieval and Renaissance French poetry, as well as the corresponding musical chanson form. Together with the ballade and the virelai, it was considered one of the three formes fixes, and one of the verse forms in France most commonly set to music between the late 13th and the 15th centuries. It is structured around a fixed pattern of repetition of material involving a refrain. The rondeau is believed to have originated in dance songs involving alternating singing of the refrain elements by a group and of the other lines by a soloist. A more complex form is the rondeau redoublé. This is also written on two rhymes, but in five stanzas of 4 lines each and one of 5 lines. Each of the first 4 lines (stanza 1) get individually repeated in turn – once by becoming successively the respective 4th lines of stanzas 2, 3, 4, & 5 – and the first part of the 1st line is repeated as a short 5th line to conclude the final stanza.
[Source: Rondeau (forme fixe) from Wikipedia]

Inspiration for the poem: Fireflies

This poem is inspired by the short film Fireflies, produced by The Jubilee Project, a movie-making group born out of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. Fireflies is a simple reminder that each one of us has beauty and can connect with others in unique ways – it is like the passing glance of a stranger, the earnest offering of a flower, and the knowing smile of a shared secret. The short film beautifully portrays how a young boy and his new friend discover a shared language of their own.

Watch the movie below. (Please pause the background music to stop interference while playing the video. You can do so from the “♪ Roll your Soul ♫” section on the right. Sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused.)

In case your flash player is giving problem, you can also view it here.

Related links:

Copyright © 2012-2013 Tanumoy Biswas and The Nomadic Soliloquist. All Rights Reserved.

56 comments on “Secret

  1. Great topic and a nice way to explain autism. In the end, each one of us has a different, our own unique way of coping with this world. And everyone has a right to it and should be respected. Cute video that brings out this point so well.

  2. Wonderful and wise Tanumoy, I bow at your feet. I hear so much silence in my day that at times the noise of it overwhelms me. As an aside, your poem moved me, it tugged me this way and thus, to me, it’s the kind of poem that elicits the deep emotional touching of souls. Walk kindly through your week, dear friend. xo

  3. What a profound offering to the matter of the subject. So wonderfully I got lost in your web of words, spun so eloquently and thoughtfully — touching the subject of Autism with most tender care. For me autism means being born with a soul that doesn’t carry the ‘dump’, which the rest of the “so-called-normal-people” often carry within their minds.

    “It is about having a pure heart and being sensitive…” — indeed, cannot agree with your words more. And strange as it may sound, however, I in my witless mind believe that autism is the first step of an evolution in ‘our race’ at this point of existence — each equipped with a certain unique set of mind — blessed to give back to the world what it so deserves and lacks.

    Ah, as for your poetry, Huzoor. How may these meek fingers ever justify the beauty of it?
    Your words:
    “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”
    Aye, your poetry to me is something quite like “dit dah dit dit …. dah dah dah …. dit dit dit dah …. dit” — something meant to be felt.

    *smiles to let him know… he’ll know*

    • “…autism means being born with a soul that doesn’t carry the ‘dump’, which the rest of the ‘so-called-normal-people’ often carry within their minds… autism is the first step of an evolution in ‘our race’ at this point of existence…” — Oh, how well do you read my ideas, Sahiba! They say perfection can never be achieved… but you almost take a sip from its cup every time, with your interpretations and thoughts.

      I’m humbled as ever I’ll be, whenever my poetry reaches you… for this nomad just tries, and tries… to come up with some piece… and you so kindly add a melody to it with your words… Shukraan!

      “dot dot dot … dah dah … dot dot … dot dah dot dot … dot … dot dot dot”

      • Rabba! Huzoor, your replies are as generous as the comments with which you beautify my ‘silent world’. Neither my witless mind nor my fingers can be even close to being perfect… Ah, but yes, your soliloquies are such a heady wine that it makes me pour out anything that comes to my lips.
        Hmm, I wonder what kind of a marvel you may create if you try, try and try not to come up with a piece — perhaps a beautiful ‘silence’. *smiles*

  4. Silence is the speech of love!
    Growing up with a brother with autism and cerebral palsy has taught me so much about myself. He has taught me patience. He has taught me to be more understanding of differences. He has taught me to be more compassionate toward others. He has taught me to accept people for who they are, not for what they look like. He has taught me about the importance of diversity. All these years I thought I was Diego’s teacher, but now I realize that he was mine…
    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Ah, you are such a gift! You spoke exactly the words I wanted to speak of, but I could not… Like they say, it’s something to say, and something else to feel… and you have been lucky enough to “feel’… Thank you for sharing the joy of being ‘touched’ by such a beautiful silence… and send my ‘Hi’ to Diego! 🙂

  5. That film made me cry! How beautiful! Your poem is wonderful too. I worked in an autism treatment program for almost three years in college. It changed the way I think about mental health disorders, especially spectrum disorders. I used to joke around with the child’s mom that he was some kind of super human… I think that might actually be true, if our society could support and embrace individuals with mental health issues differently, we may learn there are “super-humans” walking among us…

    • Aww, such lovely experiences you must have had! To feel such a silence is a treat for the life… And I truly agree with your thought about them being “superhuman”… it’s the society who wrongly thinks they are subhuman rather. And the society is to be pitied for not learning from them — their world is such a flawlessly vibrant one! Thank you for sharing your experience, brings great joy! 🙂

  6. His version of brain
    is labeled as, Low
    execution of instructions
    are also slow
    but the smile he smiles
    is bereaved of bugs
    things he transmits
    is lots of love
    love and lovely hugs
    pure like a child
    a baby at his heart
    he’s uniquely intelligent
    and uncommonly smart…

    The best thing about your posts is the little movie you always add 🙂
    Cherry on the cake

  7. Hi. Lim See Yee here.
    My wordpress has been deactive. So I ought to reopen a new wordpress.
    Haiz…everything go wrong.
    Have a look on my wordpress.

  8. Nobody can do justice to the art of writing like you do, dear one.
    “Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin and the galaxies swirl.”

    I am so glad to have come across your humble offerings. Yours is a place where any lost soul can find solace and peace and love and humility.

    I steal your words and leave with a smile 🙂
    “I wish I could convey with words divine:
    Alas, my thoughts only end with a sigh!
    And as your eyes emit that sinless shine
    Even if for a moment, you make me feel shy.”

    • Your words never cease to act like the elixir of regeneration for me… your visits as inspiring as the fresh drops of rain. Thank you, dear Amira.
      I guess it’s again because of God’s autistic moments that our paths crossed… a real treat for the soul and heart. *stores the smile* *precious*

    • So true what you said. And those are the moments which bring real joy to the heart, and make us realize that there’s a world beyond words. Thank you for reading this. 🙂

  9. 🙂 Tanumoyyy ! You would have been a very good medical doctor 🙂 You would have finished injecting your patient before he realises it, by using words as soothing balm 🙂 You handled autism as if it was a bed-time story. Kudos to you bro 🙂

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