Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reena Prasad writes

The Hunters

By the well we put some honey
on a heart-shaped leaf 
and waited to see what it could catch 
Black ants came in armies

The sun swooped  
holding on to a drongo’s forked tail 
The leaf hosted battles at its peripheries

At dusk, oval heads lay prostrate in the
The sun sank trying to see 
beyond the spindly shadows of their feet 
The rain came in through gaps in the tiled roof

The lizards crawled further down the chimney
eavesdropping as we discussed 
the warriors under our sheet

The wet morning smelt green 
The ground had been washed clean 
and the honey-trap seized by a rogue wind

The ants were still there 
huddled around a leaf-shaped memory

So were we

 Image result for drongo paintings

 Drongo -- Krista Anandakuttan


  1. The drongos are a subfamily of small passerine birds. Originally the Dicruridae family included the single genus Dicrurus but has been expanded to include the subfamilies Rhipidurinae (Australasian fantails), Monarchinae (monarchs and paradise flycatchers) and Grallininae (magpie-larks), and the placement of the pygmy drongo (Chaetorhynchus papuensis) is being considerd. The name was originally from an indigenous language of Madagascar, but the family Dicruridae probably originated in the Indo Malayan area before moving into Africa about 15 million years ago and across the Wallace Line into Australasia about 6 million years ago. (The Wallace Line is a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by Alfred Russel Wallace and separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. It runs between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes) and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok; the term was first used by Thomas Huxley in an 1868 paper to the Zoological Society of London.) Despite their small size, drongos are aggressive and fearless and will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened. Several species of animals and birds respond to drongos' alarm calls, which often warn of the presence of a predator. Fork-tailed drongos are known to use alarm calls when no predator is in the area to cause animals to flee and abandon food; they get up to 23% of their food this way. They not only use their own alarm calls but imitate those of at least 51 other species, animals as well as birds, and if the call of one species is not effective the drongo will try another.Some drongos, especially the greater racket-tailed drongo, are noted for their ability to mimic other birds and even mammals. In Australia and New Zealand, a "drongo" is a "stupid fellow" due to a racehorse bythat name in the 1920s that never won despite many starts.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and the comment!


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