Vasus Pessimism Poetry

July 10, 2012

Life Can Present Some Nasty Turns

Family Man Gets Laid Off

Christmas season Gift lists Holiday plans Santa at the mall Then The pink slip (65)

Man Gets a Grim Diagnosis

Pink of health Routine checkup X-ray shadow Follow up visit Then The lung cancer (67)

Student develops an addiction

Straight A student Honors list Debating champ Basketball hero Then The amphetamines (72)

A Child is killed

Suburban street Seven-year old Lemonade stand DUI driver Then The small coffin (67)

A Husband Asks for a Divorce

Anniversary Candles and wine Surprise dinner His favorite meal Then The D word (66)

A Woman is Unfaithful

Home early Concealed flowers Alarmed voices Ear to the door Then The infidelity (67)

A Student Takes His Own Life

Exam results Missing roll number Despondent boy Wrenching shame Then Qutab Minar (69)

A Terrorist Attack at a Crowded Location

Holiday tourists Magnificent view Sudden commotion Human screams Then Body Counts (71)


My friend Sundar named these vignettes, taken together, as “pessimism poetry.” I told him these word pictures were merely exercises in crafting succinct images of sudden and unexpected developments in people’s lives. Such things do happen, do they not? People are writing stories these days in a single “tweet” of 140 characters. The number of characters in the above stories is shown in parentheses. Perhaps the stories could be told in even fewer words, even fewer lines. As such, each vignette is roughly “half a tweet” in length or shorter.

The one below has only 46 characters:

Rajat Gupta

IIT Harvard McKinsey Goldman Sachs Then Preet Bharara (46)