The Fifth Sense


Our sense of sight is misleading and yet overused

As if trees, clouds, water – the real things –

Weren't enough

We invented screens to look at

From dawn to dusk our eyes

Are seeing, staring, ogling, judging


Our sense of hearing is never quiet

Though the songs of birds and winds – of nature –

Have all but ceased

We have the clamor of modern life

And the electronic ear-buds

Never stop pouring sounds onto our eardrums


Our sense of smell is overwhelmed

With so much to smell:

As if the scent of flowers, of soil, of bodies –

the real things – weren't enough

We invented perfumes, potions

And pollutants to inhale


Oh! And the appetite of taste!

As if fruits of nature – bitter, sweet, tangy – didn’t satiate

We invented international cuisines

Under the onslaught of samplers, buffets, chef joints,

And instant snacks

The tongue need never pause between words!


Overworked, buried under

This sensory overload

Have we forsaken the sense of touch?

The most true and trusted, the sense of love itself!


For, why does a father shake hands and not

Hold his son close to his chest

Why a daughter waves a flying kiss on skype

And not drive a few miles to cuddle her mom


Why friends type and text and not

Indulge the warmth of a tight embrace

Why lovers chat at the table and sip coffee

And not let their bare skin do its magic


Let us awaken the Fifth sense, give it some respect,

A reaffirmation, and let love truly express itself!



Abhay B. Joshi