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The Shades of Freedom


Ravi Shankar Rajan is a software program director who writes on varied subjects from history, archaeology to leadership and poetry.

The Shades of Freedom

The Shades of Freedom

The Word “Freedom” Has a Surprising Meaning

The oldest known meaning of freedom comes to us from the ancient Sumerians who lived in Iraq over 4000 years ago. The Sumerians called it "ama-ar-gi" and it meant "going home to mother".

The definition originated from the condition of the slaves who finally managed to return home to their beloved mothers after long hardships and sufferings. In ancient Sumeria, it was also a legal term used frequently in all relevant documents and state decisions. It was later during the middle ages the "mother's love" definition of freedom got simply transformed to *Frija" meaning “beloved".

That said, there is no doubt that freedom is beloved to all and the word holds different meanings for different individuals. For the martyr it is freedom from tyranny, for the spiritual, it is freedom from temptation, and for the health-conscious, it is freedom from flab or sedentary lifestyle. Knowingly or even unknowingly, all of us are fighting for some freedom or the other almost every day in our lives.

The below poems portray some facets of freedom as I see it. Needless to say, they are inspired by dear Hubber Brenda Arledge's week-29 prompt "Freedom."

Freedom from Hell

Freedom from Hell

Freedom from Hell

Clouds of darkness engulfed me,
Gigantic brown waves creating whirlpools,
Sucking me deeper and deeper into hell.
The odious stench suffocating me,
Hot, scalding steam burning into me.

No sign of shore, devoid of life,
my legs felt useless, heavy like lead.
The viscous liquid choking my senses,
images appearing blurred, distorted,
I began vomiting bile mixed with blood.

Death began dancing before my petrified eyes,
I am doomed to die, slowly, very horribly.

Suddenly, a strange force pulled me out;
I escaped unscathed from the jaws of hell.
Under the clear, blue skies, I heard a voice,
“This damn fly spoiled my coffee.”

Freedom From Fear

Freedom From Fear

Freedom From Fear

He lay sprawled on my spotless bed,
lips curled into a sarcastic grin,
vile, gleaming eyes transfixed on me.

A creepy feeling suddenly ran through my body,
shivers of disgust funneled down my spine,
I felt like vomiting, legs became heavy like lead,
a bitter taste of bile filled my mouth.

Goose pimples erupted all over my body,
nausea overpowered my muddled senses.
I booed at him, screamed at him,
he refused to move even an inch.

A helpless feeling of fear engulfed my mind,
I hung my head in shameful defeat,
the brute continued to torment me.

Suddenly, the door opened.
a rosy-cheeked kid came running to me.
He asked me in a shrill, mischievous voice,
“Uncle, have you seen my toy lizard somewhere?”

© 2021 Ravi Rajan


Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 13, 2021:

Thanks Vidya

VIDYA D SAGAR on September 13, 2021:

A totally unique take on freedom Ravi. I enjoyed reading the poems. The endings made me smile. A wonderful response to Brenda's word prompt.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 13, 2021:

Thanks, Lora for your kind comments.

Lora Hollings on September 13, 2021:

I had no idea of that the origins of the word freedom included a word which meant mother love. Fascinating! And I loved your take on the word freedom in your very creative and fun poems. Your poems were beautifully crafted.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Peggy

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Brenda

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Rinita

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Chitrangada

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Bill

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2021:

I got a kick out of reading both of your poems with the twist of both endings. Ha! Thanks for the laughs.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 09, 2021:


In your introduction you tell us about a freedom the Sumerians called ama-ar-gi" and it meant "going home to mother".

This dates back over 4000 years ago to the era of slaves.

During the middle ages this word got transformed to "Frija" meaning “beloved".

The you tell us that freedom is a beloved word and has many different meanings to all.

Your poem, "Freedom from Hell" paints a very descriptive picture of someone going into the depths of hell.

When suddenly he is pulled out hearing a voice under the blue skies.

It seems it was a mistake...cute ending.

Your poem, "Freedom From Fear" depicts a story of someone being abused.

When finally a rosy-cheeked kid comes to the rescue by opening the door looking for his toy lizard.

These are very descriptive poems that tell how our freedom can be taken away in a few short moments.

It really makes the meaning of "ama-ar-gi" ( going back to mother) come into one's heart.

I'll post a link in the word prompt article.

Rinita Sen on September 09, 2021:

Like your intro. Your poems are deep, going many ways. Excellent imagery though.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 09, 2021:

Excellent article and a great response to the word prompt, freedom. I liked your poems and your observations.

Thank you for sharing!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 09, 2021:

Freedom is such a difficult concept to write about. You have done well, my friend.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Umesh

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 09, 2021:

Both the poems are very interesting. The end is so surprising. Well done Ravi.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on September 09, 2021:

Thanks Misbah

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on September 09, 2021:

Ravi, I have enjoyed reading both of your poems. I also enjoyed learning about the ancient meaning of freedom. It was interesting to learn that the ancient Sumerians gave us the earliest known definition of freedom. It was known to the Sumerians as "ama-ar-gi," which meant "going back to mother." What a wonderful and beautiful meaning.

In today's world, I believe this definition and word should be used instead of the word freedom. I believe, the feeling of freedom comes from lying on mother's lap and not having to worry about anything.

Thank you for explaining the history of this word. You are always willing to provide us useful information. I appreciate your efforts.

Many Blessings to you!!

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