Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Santosh Bakaya writes

Why do I trip and slip?
Hey, why do I thus trip and slip? 
Ah, it is a chameleon with a stiff upper lip
Distracting me by its push-ups on a boulder  
Oh, suddenly the weather becomes colder. 
Memory slivers, like snowflakes
Drift towards me tangoing, twisting, pirouetting,
Waltzing, twisting; Eyes misting 
I see a girl under the neem tree,
looking at a stout chameleon in the verdant garden.
What is that commotion?
The hue and cry, and childish emotion?
Is that the ripple of laughter juvenile
Bursting forth from the figure fragile 
Standing under that neem tree 
Shining with a glint of spunky mischief 
After a humongous tiff?

Some notes of old nursery rhymes 
Of those idyllic and beautiful times
Still echo among the bushes.
Some old jingles mingle with new ones 
Ring-ring-a-roses, a pocket full of posies 
When we all fell down 
Along with Humpty Dumpty
While all the king’s horses and all the king’s men 
Wrung their hands helplessly near the wall 
After Humpty's ignominious fall.
Someone bending down to tie a buckle 
Another hiding a chuckle 
Muddles and cuddles splashing in puddles
Plotting in muddled huddles 
When the rain refused to go and come again another day 
And the faint glint of the sun after the unrelenting rains 
was like the sparkle of ill humour 
in the rheumy eyes of a cantankerous old man. 
But we glowed and gleamed, shimmered and dreamed
Hopping and skipping away our puppy fat 
Ah, what time was that?

 Image result for humpty dumpty paintings
Humpty Dumpty -- Paul Edwards


  1. The neem (Azadirachta indica, latinized from the Persian “azad” [free] + “dirakht” [tree] + ”i-Hind” [of Indian origin]) is one of a very few shade-giving trees that thrive in drought-prone areas. Dola Mitra wrote about the time educationist Pramathanath Bishi visited Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore: “Someone brought the poet a drink in a glass pitcher. It was a green-gold liquid that looked so inviting Bishi couldn't take his eyes off as the poet sipped it. ‘Would you like some?’ Tagore asked him, smiling mischievously. Who wouldn't? Alas! It turned out to be a bitter concoction: the juice from crushed neem leaves mixed with a dash of honey to make it palatable.” In Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, a small amount of Neem and jaggery (a traditional product of date, cane juice, or palm sap without separation of the molasses and crystals) is consumed on Ugadi, the Telugu and Kannada new year, indicating that one should take both bitter and sweet things in life, joy, and sorrow. In Tamil Nadu the goddess Mariamman is garlanded with neem leaves and flowers and most celebrations are adorned with them as a form of decoration and to ward off evil spirits and infections. In Odisha the Jagannath temple deities are carved from neem heart wood. Theravada Buddhism claims that Tissa, the 20th Buddha, achieved enlightenment via the neem tree. All parts of the neem are used in traditional Indian medicine as a household remedy against various diseases, and was the first medicinal plant mentioned in Siddha literature; Lord Muruga gave the medical system to Agathiyar, who passed the knowledge on to spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, the eight supernatural powers, and recorded their findings as Tamil poems written on palm leaves. The neem is a common poetic symbol, as in Abhay K.'s poem about the neem trees of Delhi:

    Under my ubiquitous shade
    lie scattered cities of Delhi.
    Delhi and I are one and the same.
    My yellow-green fruits
    delicious when ripe,
    bitter when raw;
    only the wise know the difference.

    Or this one by Banaphool:

    Some peeled off the bark and boiled it.
    Some plucked the leaves to grind them.
    Some fried them in scalding oil.
    To be used for skin problems.
    Surefire cure for leprosy.
    Some even munched on its tender leaves.
    Or, fried with eggplants.
    Very good for the liver.
    Many snapped off its twigs to clean their teeth with.
    Doctors extolled its virtues.
    Experts were pleased if it sprouted next to your home.
    'It acts as a good filter, don't chop it down,' they said.
    No one did. But no one took care of it either.
    Garbage gathered all around.
    ....A different person came up to it one day.
    He gazed, enraptured, at the tree. He didn't peel off the bark, didn't pluck its leaves, didn't snap its twigs....
    'How beautiful these leaves are,' he said. '... How pretty these clumps of flowers — a constellation of stars has descended from the blue skies to this green space...'
    Having gazed to his heart's content, he left.
    He was a man in search of a muse, not medicine.
    The neem tree wanted to run away with him. But it couldn't. Its roots had dug too deep into the earth....
    In that house, the housewife, so adept at domestic chores, was in the same situation.
    (--tr. Arunava Sinha.)

  2. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king's horses and all the king's men
    Couldn't put Humpty together again.
    The nursery-rhyme character, typically portrayed as a personified egg though not explicitly described so, probably originated as a riddle. A "humpty dumpty" was a 17th-century drink of brandy boiled with ale and was 18th-century reduplicative slang for a short, clumsy person. He may have once been popularly associated with Richard III of England, depicted as humpbacked in Tudor histories and particularly in Shakespeare's 1592 play, who was defeated by rival forces at Bosworth Field in 1485. The earliest known version was published in Samuel Arnold's “Juvenile Amusements” in 1797:
    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    Four-score Men and Four-score more,
    Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.
    By 1870 James William Elliott attached the poem to a tune in his “National Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs.” Two years later he made one of his most memorable appearances in Lewis Carroll's “Through the Looking-Glass”:
    "I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
    "But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
    "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
    "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they're the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!”

  3. Thanks so much for enriching this poem by your erudite comments.

  4. Thanks so much for enriching this poem by your erudite comments.


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