Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Razia, The Tigress


                               Razia, The Tigress  

       Razia, the Tigress

[The present poem sketches before the reader a world of fast depleting natural resources which is threatening the wildlife around us. Razia, the tigress, is worried for her partner and two cubs who, like many other tiger cubs, are in danger of being poached and killed. The poem also shows how man has usurped all land and how he has plundered his natural resources. This has threatened both the wildlife as well as human life and environment.]

The tigress Razia lives alone.
Her two cubs haven’t yet been named.
Sheru barely played with them
And now he’s gone, O what a shame!
Sheru was an expert on winds,
Knew how they traversed dale and hill,
And where they put up for the night
When no leaf stirred and all was still.
He knew his winds, their traffic lanes!
He knew the deer would smell him out,
If they were down-wind.
So he would belly-crawl and crouch
And take a long circular route,
Hiding behind bush and shrub
Once he knew his scent won’t carry,
In a flash he would erupt.
 (Deer hadn’t sniffed that thick and musty
Smell of his which people dubbed
As tiger-scent.) He got the stag,
His claw fell like a giant club
On neck and antler-both were crushed
Now Sheru’s gone. Not any more
Do people fear his dreaded spoor,
Pug-marked on the forest floor.
Grief and fear start competing
In Razia’s heart. With Sheru gone,
Will the hyenas hound her cubs?
Can she leave the little ones alone,
When she goes hunting flesh and bone?
The tigress Razia lives in fear.
A greater dread, when will again
The poachers with their guns appear?

Keki N Daruwalla
[Keki N Daruwalla is a great contemporary Indian poet. He was born in Lahore in 1937 and was educated at Government College, Ludhiana. He currently lives in New Delhi. He is the winner of the Sahitya Akademi and Commonwealth Poetry Awards. He is praised for his bitter, satiric tone, which is rather exceptional in Indian poetry in English.]

traversed – travelled

dale – valley

stirred – moved

shrub – small, low tree

erupt – jump, come up

dubbed – described

dreaded – feared

spoor – animal scent.

poachers – animal hunters