On life and its vagaries

Eidetic? (A consolation poem)

with 3 comments

Eidetic? (A consolation poem)


When I pump the old bore-well now

Only air issues forth

There would be a long hiss at first

Sending shivers through the neighborhood


Immediately there would be a parting of curtains

Bringing faces to the windows

And a freezing of children at play


It stalls the grocer and his cart to a stop

And mostly tumbles the milkman from his bike


People had become wary of the old pump


It’s not a hiss, they used to say

It’s a siren; it’s a wail of imminent danger


The long hiss would be followed by a staccato stutter

As if a machine gun is being discharged

Then an interminable gurgle would be heard

The pump had a strange way of mimicking water

It gets up my expectations and reduces me to a hopeful waiting

At last there would be silence

People would then settle into their routines

Only to be brought still by its next hiss

On rare occasions it would emit an ounce of water

It was mostly froth, and drops with a plunk,

Before anyone could catch it


Kind ladies who see me working the pump

Would smile and murmur:


Can’t you get a privet connection lad?

Why go for the bore-well water?

The water they supply us,

It is chlorinated and treated for purity

And is enriched with minerals for our use!


They reside in palatial mansions

Or the sky scrapping apartments nearby,

Purified water is brought to them 

By the truck loads and filled

To the full in their privet and capacious tanks


I would return their smiles and say:

Your kindnesses, I am poor, and do like the

Faintly tepid tang of the ground water somehow.


They would stall for a moment in pity

And say almost to themselves


You can bore or dig a well then,

Does not the city permit that?


They only permit swimming pools

Your kindnesses,

Wells seem to be unhygienic, and what’s more

They are about to issue notices to shut this off too


The ladies would then seem genuinely baffled:


How so lad, people are free to do

What they lawfully want,

Doesn’t our charter of rights say so?


It does, your kindnesses, it does, 

The trick-word being ‘lawfully’

 Do your kindnesses know who makes laws?


 Who ?


I would laugh.


That’s what we need to find out, your kindnesses,

That’s what we need to find out.


They would leave slightly perturbed, and I would

Pump the well once again, oblivious to the din.


3 Responses

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  1. Very cool story, Sam. My grandmother had a very impressive pump – though water did issue forth, and it was more equine (donkey?). But this is very vivid, from well sounds to old ladies. k.


    June 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

  2. I’m quite familiar with these…we had one just as you described it in the ‘summer kitchen’ in the farm house where I was raised…such a great old relic, a fascination from a bygone era:)

    ~Lady Day

    June 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm

  3. i liked this one a lot! and thought of Ben Marcus and his weird-o listening wells and breathing shields…thank you

    N Filbert

    June 12, 2012 at 2:11 am

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