Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The Killing of a Tree

Kunwar Narain, "The Killing of a Tree," No Other World: Selected Poems, tr. Apurva Narain (New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2008), p. 159:
This time he was not there –
the old tree that always stood to attention,
like a guard at the door to my house.

His worn leathery trunk
weather-beaten life
wrinkled rough upright shabby,
branch like a rifle,
hat of leafy flowers,
rugged boots on feet,
creaking coarse courage

                In sun in rain
                in rain in cold
                untiringly alert
                in khaki fatigues

He'd accost from afar, "Who goes there?"
"A friend," I'd answer
                and sit down for a moment
                under his benign shade.

In fact, there always lurked in our ways
the mortal fear of some common foe –
                the house had to be saved from thieves
                the city from plunderers
                the nation from its enemies

                had to be saved –

                    river from becoming drain
                    air from becoming smoke
                    food from becoming poison

                    jungles from becoming deserts
                    humans from becoming jungles.
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.


<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?