We live in an era where the word mask has become ubiquitous.  However this poem was written in another time, not very long ago. It was written in December of twenty fourteen, just about six years back.  Then it got lost among lots of others amidst many that I wrote and did not complete or was discarded.  Few days back as I was rummaging through some of my old folders, I found this and found it to be surprisingly complete.  I think this still have relevance today, albeit not in a sense that we associate masks with now a days.

The moment we entered the world

We are marked.

Labels defined us at every step.

We are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters.


Every step we made, every progression,

Got labeled and defined for us.

We are smart, fool, lazy, successful.

Labeled nicely in boxes as per societies’ norms.

World as we know,

Won’t let us live as ourselves

Break those norms,

We are labeled as rebels, misfits,

To be put down with all their might.


Conform or perish,

Lead or follow,

Succeed or fail,

Be religious (whatever it means),

Or rot in hell (as if enough hell is not created in this world).


Every step we take,

Yardsticks are out to measure

Our fit to a new label.

We are not allowed to be ourselves.

Deified or demonized or in between.


We are all wearing a mask,

Masking us from ourselves

In this journey through life.

Blissfully unaware that

Anonymous we came and

and will leave to anonymity.


At journey’s end,

These masks of label,

Won’t be of any use to us.


Author: pranabaxom

Poetry is my passion. I am not a methodical writer. I have no set topics to write about. What I feel, perceive, think about, I will like to share in this blog. I open my mind to the world. Like the weather, sometimes my poems are cloudy, sometimes stormy. I always like to see sunshine streaming through the leaves of trees, so I hope I can share some of those sunshine with my readers.

4 thoughts on “MASK”

  1. Funny how “complete” those set-aside poems can sometimes be! I recently found four such gems, polished them a little, and sent them off to a contest. Here is an early 1900’s poem about masks. It’s about hiding out real selves from others, but fit the current situation surprisingly well.
    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.
    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
    We wear the mask.
    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
    We wear the mask!
    Paul Laurence Dunbar


    1. Jane, thank you so much for sharing the poem Mask. I wrote mine may be a year before I started my blog. Not sure if I even had WhatsApp then. So the poem languished in some old folder. I still believe in what I wrote then and think it still applies. So I decided to share.


  2. Thank you for sharing this poem on Mask. This is always and universally relevant.
    Do you stay masked, my friend? Or shake those off whenever you can?
    Here’s my poem on Mask, which you have already read on FB.

    Masked Time

    Knew of masks
    Performers wear
    During their shows
    of dance or plays.
    Or of doctors and nurses
    During surgery.

    Now it is a Masked world
    Wherever one goes,
    Wherever one looks.
    Men, women, children all
    Covered up
    like the backward Muslim women of the species.
    Just that now it’s not backward anymore.
    It’s a matter of life and death,
    When God Almighty plays His
    Divine Roulette!
    This one goes!
    This one stays!

    Oh what a torture!
    The newborns now
    Will have tiny masks on.
    Oh what a pity
    They are deprived of looking at the adoring smiling faces hovering around them wherever they
    May be!
    And what a loss too
    For the not so youngs
    Being deprived of
    the divine babies’ smiles!

    O how I wish for
    A Maskless time!
    A Maskless world!
    Full of joyful smiles!

    Syeda Jebeen Sabira Shah.
    New York. 25 August, 2020

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This physical mask is a necessity of the time we live in for the greater good of humanity and hopefully we shall shed them one day soon. The mental mask that we carry with us and hide behind is the one difficult to get rid of.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your poem.


Let It Rain With Your Constructive Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s