Thursday, October 18, 2007

A poem from long ago

One of the pleasures (and agonies) of writing, I feel, is browsing through one's own work from very long ago, and realizing with a shake of the head and a smile just how absurd or bad the writing is. Consider this poem that I wrote when I was in the second year of my college in Trichy – I was seventeen then. My intent was to write something that rhymed, was funny and yet conveyed a serious message. I find my phrases and word choices bizarre now - to say the least - but at the time of writing I was quite convinced that this was a brilliant poem. I even put it up proudly on the online bulletin board of our college computing center for everyone to read. Here it is:


THE JUNGLE BOOK 1

PROJECT TIGER

Ascending a tree ain't no flattering feat,
specially when you have a man eater at your feet,
snappin' and snarlin' in it's attempt to glean,
all anatomy of mine, neat and clean.

On breathing you feel it's sweltering heat,
that turns your toes to molten feet.
The end of the road is here to greet,
me with death and the tiger with fresh meat!

I rise up the tree up to it's peak,
maybe the branch was a wee bit weak,
as in due time I heard it creak,
a dreadful sound, a nice old tweak
Shock! Surprise! Oh, did I shriek!

Luckily I fell into a creek
the water was cold, deliciously deep
from it's depths did I peek
to hear the croc say, ‘I got you cheap.’
But there were other things that made my soul creep
it was not one of them, it was an entire fleet!

But the tiger ain't no slouch for speed;
it was there at the creek, quick and sleek,
after all, would you miss your fresh meat?

Its TIGER VS CROCS at the creek
but spectators like me never seek
to wait for the winner to shake hands with me,
I had gray cells enough to see
this was my chance, I had to flee!

Later, hidden behind far-off trees
i contemplated rather daintily
that though the tiger was an enemy
it was a friend, life savior indeed!

Decades later, to my offspring i repeat
the same ol' story precise and neat
with a lot of pain, do i discover
that all my children have fallen asleep!

But don't you start to doze or sleep
or soon the tiger shall fall asleep...

Save the tiger, without it a forest is never complete!

_____________

That's quite a cheesy message, isn’t it? Despite the poem's obvious flaws I still have a lot of affection for it. It's titled The Jungle Book 1 because this was the first of a series of wildlife poems. The second was set in a waterhole and featured: bathing elephants and hippos; a lion who challenges an elephant to a duel but is sent sulking off "in a narrow lane" (I was trying the patli gali idea here); and a crane that scratches the elephant’s itchy back - it's itchy, the elephant says, because of "the indestructible fungal reign".

The third poem was set in the plains of the Serengeti and was about a cheetah futilely chasing a herd of gazelles. And the final one was about a fiercely efficient army of red ants hunting a scorpion before a spider interrupts, weaves a web of magic that stymies the ants, and allows the scorpion to escape. I'd planned a fifth one too, about birds, but that never got completed. But what fun I had concocting these stories in rhyme!

You see, I can get quite carried away - this is what I call wallowing in nostalgia.

4 comments:

Iris said...

Ah...that's the poem you were talking about. Would you post the other one as well? ;-)

Pallavi said...

:)..thats funny..but its very cute!so are you going to post 2 and 3 as well? I am curious about the narrow lane..:)

Hari said...

Looks like there is demand for more! But not so soon, since I am still bit shy about putting all these old things up :) But maybe sometime later!

Pallavi: There isn't much to the "narrow lane", believe me! :)

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