Posted tagged ‘poetry’

Morning Walk

3 January 2011

A poem by Aditi Baindur

One day, I took off to the lake,
to meet a friend for a morning walk,
I spotted lots of coots and ducks,
and a single painted stork.

I hoped to meet my friend out there,
waiting under a tree,
it stood up tall, dry and bare,
my friend I did not see.

The tree trunk stood tall and strong
supporting each green leaf above
I marvelled at the care provided
to each leaf, motherly love.

I spotted a hollow as my eyes did roam –
What lived inside the bole of the tree?
To what little creature was it home?
A squirrel, a myna, a lizard, or a bee?

Just then I saw a little bird,
not far off from that tree,
fallen and hurt, it bled on the dirt,
I ran to its rescue, couldn’t let it be.

The mother came showering down
between me and the chick
I let it shepherd the little one away
while I did the vanishing trick

My friend came up just then
laughing and carefree
I hope you weren’t bored she said
waiting here alone for me

I said how can one get bored
there is so much around to see
nature’s bounty, mankind’s treasures
were all around me plenty!

THE SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama) – Natural history in verse!

2 January 2011

by

Ashwin and Aditi Baindur

 

Spotted Owlet (Artist: Aditi Baindur)

 

When I go for an evening walk
along the tree-lined CME street,
there is bound to be an interesting creature
or two that I am sure to meet.

Sometime its a palm civet
or nightjar with chuff chuff call
mostly its just a little owlet,
grey-spotted but half foot tall.

Not just in Pune is he found
In South Asia wherever he can be
From sunny Mekran to rainy Indo-China
and Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

From sunny Mekran to rainy Indo-China, and from Kashmir to Kanyakumari

People in our North call him chughad,
Khussatia or even oodloo.
In Bengal he is called Kuture pencha
And in Sindh he is known as Chibiru.

Some foolish people think him a bad omen;
he is named after wise Athene.
Bobs his head to Brahma for his name,
in mythology he carries Laxmi.

The Owl (Ulooka in Sanskrit), seen at Laxmi's feet, is the traditional vehicle of Goddess Laxmi. (Click image to reach source. Reproduced under fair use).

An owlet pair are always found
on the signpost of 253B,
from where they are perched in shadow
but the lighted path they can see.

On this road they aren’t quite alone,
I find them on ‘most any tree,
every fifty yards or outside each garage.
We indeed have an owly colony!

The little ones of the field and garden
are welcome guests to their feast –
mice, centipedes, insects, beetles
even snakes and scorpions they eat.

Spotted Owlet and prey! (Owl Image:J.M. Garg, on Wikimedia Commons)

Their house is in in a little shelf
between the rafters and my bungalow roof.
From outside there is very little sign,
some pellets on the floor my only proof

that a quaint little family dwells in my bungalow
quietly along with me
and helps look after my interests
by eating small rodentry.

November to April is their special time,
to start a little family
beginning with four white spherical eggs
the fledgelings away in weeks three.

Fledgeling Spotted Owlets with squirrel (© Jagdeep Rajput / ardea.com)

A noisier pair I’m yet to find
so bold and confident are they,
chirruk chirruk they screech at dawn
and chirwak chirwak ending day.

I like the owlets very very much
though they watch me very closely!
Now he bobs his head, she turns hers around.
I’m sure they also like me!

NOTICE  –

  • Text of poem under Creative Commons 3.0 Unported.
  • Image credits – see individual images.
  • This poem appeared on CME Weekly on 25 Dec 2010. Copyright rests with author.
  • Information: Spotted Owlet. (2010, December 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:19, January 2, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spotted_Owlet&oldid=403714746.

Image: J.M. Garg (from Wikimedia Commons)

Dappled things – by Gerard Manley Hopkins

2 December 2009

Clouds over Chaparral, New Mexico (Image:Greg Lundeen, public domain)

Glory be to God for dappled things! (Image:US Dept of Agriculture, public domain).

GLORY be to God for dappled things—

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) (Public domain image)

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Stippled trout. (Image:Mike Cline, public domain).

Stippled Trout! (Image:Mike Cline, public domain).

This poem was written in 1877, but not published until 1918, when it was included as part of the collection Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Sometimes we enslave our idea of beauty to that which society says or what our senses like. There is an unseen classical beauty in two-toned images. Observe how photographers adore black and white images!

...sometimes we enslave our idea of beauty to that which society says...(Namibi woman. Image:Yves Picq, License:CC-by-SA 3.0)

Every thing does not need to have a lush, sensual quailty.  Starkness, brevity, simplicity, composition, balance are higher qualities than a mish-mash of over-rich hues!

Gerard Manley Hopkins was a priest and an exquisite poet. In the appealing contrast of dappled things he found evidence of divine benevolence! Indeed of God’s grandeur – a phrase which he used as the title of another of his poems.

To Hopkins this would indeed be an image of 'God's Grandeur"! (Image:NASA, public domain).

But all poets are UP TO SOMETHING!

In Hopkin’s case ( as Wikipedia puts it) –

This  ending is gently ironic and beautifully surprising: the entire poem has been about variety, and then God’s attribute of immutability is praised in contrast.

Tools of the trade - Carpentry. (Image:LoKiLeCh, license CC-SA 2.5)

Tools of the trade - Carpentry. (Image:LoKiLeCh, license CC-SA 2.5)

Everybody sang!

8 October 2009
Pure joy of flight! Terns at the seashore!

Pure joy of flight! Terns at the seashore!

EVERYBODY SANG!

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on—on—and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Capt Siegfried Sassoon, Military Cross

Wild Geese against the setting sun!

Wild Geese against the setting sun!

2/Lt Siegfried Sassoon, Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1915

2/Lt Siegfried Sassoon, Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1915

Another of my favourites! Siegfried Sassoon is a war poet who writes about the futility of war.  Here, in this poem, like in “Waiting for Godot“,  Becket‘s Godot or Sassoon’s freedom and its associated happiness never comes! I feel that by ‘ freedom’ he means ‘freedom from strife’. Though we desire it, we are ultimately never free from war.

This poem was written by Sassoon just after the Armistice, the official end to World War I, was declared.

This diatribe against war comes from the words of a soldier who saw the futility of lives lost in the ‘danze macabre’ that was World War I. Unsuccessfully recommended for a Victoria Cross, Sassoon was an exceptionally brave and soldier and an effective leader of men.

The poem, like all good ones, is open to multiple interpretation.

Credits – Wikimedia Commons, here, here and here.

Nightingales

28 September 2009

Nachtegaal

Beautiful must be the mountains whence ye come,
And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams wherefrom
Ye learn your song:
Where are those starry woods? O might I wander there,
Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air
Bloom the year long!.

Nay, barren are those mountains and spent the streams:
Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
A throe of the heart,
Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound,
No dying cadence, nor long sigh can sound,
For all our art.

Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men
We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then,
As night is withdrawn
From these sweet-springing meads and bursting boughs of May,
Dream, while the innumerable choir of day
Welcome the dawn.

Robert_BridgesRobert Bridges

Bridges (1844-1930) was a doctor and also Poet-Laureate of England from 1913-1930.

This poem refutes the traditional premise that a work of art is created by being inspired by beauty. It tells of the power of unsatisfied desire to move the nightingales to matchless song – a more telling commentary on the human condition than most nature poems.

Nightingale-stampThe real bird itself is the Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) a song-bird and flycatcher found in Europe and South-West Asia and migrating in the winter to Africa.

The bird’s name means “night-songtress” but it is the male that sings to attract a mate and defend its territory.

Nightingales have often appeared in traditional lore and the arts—again, usually because of their song.

The poet John Keats thought of the bird as a carefree spirit, free to sing in “full-throated ease.”

In “Ode to a Nightingale,” one of the finest poems ever written, he wrote that he longed to:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget….

A spider came to my office….

22 September 2009
and got onto the table...
and got onto the table…

A spider came to my office.
I didn’t know what to do,
So I greeted her as a guest;
didn’t grate her under my shoe.

She had sexy gold markings,
on a body chocolate brown,
slim, jointed legs and pied pedipalps
and a gold crown all her own.

She jumped up along my leg
and got onto the table,
looked me square in my eye,
as if eager and willing and able

she jumped into my file cover....
she jumped into my file cover….

to help me with my work.
I turned her mini-help down
but she was not to be put off
by a word or even a frown.

She jumped into my file cover
got stuck between two pages
I rushed before she passed over.
Carefully! Slowly! Took ages!

She now wanted to type
on to the keyboard sprang she
but she was once again mightily floored
as to how to press down a key.

on to the keyboard sprang she....
on to the keyboard sprang she….

I offered her a pencil or pen
she was vain to touch such stuff
wandered off for more interesting things
of Literature she’d had enuff.

She jumped onto my shirt,
went onto my collar.
I was statue still, perspiring,
I didn’t want her to be a goner!

of Literature she'd had enough....

of Literature she'd had enough....

Angrily I swatted her off.
No more, get right off me!
But she just wouldn’t go away,
that arachnine busybee!

To her feminine side I made appeal;
I made her pirouette on my hand.
A super model I made her feel,
posing next to a rubber band.

At last satisfied, she was off
to a world of fame and glory.
With a twinkling of silk thread
launched off the table twelve-storey.

posing next to a rubber band....

posing next to a rubber band....

Immediately I raised my feet
so as not to crush her.
All the way outside the door
my cheers and waves followed her.

So whenever you are tired or bored
just call my eight-legged friend.
If you promise not to harm her
she’ll entertain you no end.

She’ll teach you a thing or two
about space, agility and time.
She’ll cock a elegant leg at you,
even teach you how to rhyme.

launched off the table twelve-storey....

launched off the table twelve-storey....

I have added some snaps over here
so that you’ll recognise when you see her.
Be careful of my little spider dear
of gorgeous looks, and good humour!

Photo credits.

Sigh, all mine including the blurry ones!

Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mushrooms’

5 September 2009

Read this poem. Do pause to reflect first on the poet’s visualisation of mushrooms and then ponder as to what the poet is actually talking about.

Mushrooms

A backlit mushroom - Sylvia Platt's poem talks about seeing things in a new way - in this case, the rights of women after World War II.

Like Sylvia Platt's poem talks about seeing things in a new way, this photo of a backlit mushroom looks at the subject from a new angle and does exactly what Sylvia Plath intended this poem to do - hold a silent issue up to the light.

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Stamp_of_Moldova_364Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was a very sensitive and complex poet and writer who explored through this poem a suppressed issue – the rights of women after World War II.

Credits

  • Back-lit mushroom Eric Meyer’s image is licensed under GFDL and Creative Commons SA 3.0 at Wikimedia Commons.
  • Sylvia Plath’s image -Copyrighted.  Used non-commercially here under fair use.
  • Moldovan stamp image – Public Domain. see here.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU!

A special thank you to all my visitors !  Many of you may have come here on a quest for Sylvia Plath or her famous poem rather than in quest of nature or my blog.  So many of you have come here that my blog’s visit rate and rankings have gone up.

I thank you all for that and have made a “Do you know – Mushrooms” here for your viewing pleasure as a gesture of thanks.

Please do look around. If you find a nice post and enjoy it, I will feel happy that I could repay you in some way for your gracious spending of your time here!