The wilderness near the city


By RK Lakhi Kant

Wild birds, peacocks and deer abound,
In this low lying forest near my place;
A thicket with a small taste of village life:
Village cows and goats march out early,
To be greeted by their wild cousins,
Among the thorny bushes and trees.

But O gosh! The wild animals are less in number!
Will they not hold reins over the forest lands?
The tedium of the worried wild is disrupted by me;
A hare scrammed, the peacocks hurried off,
The deer too jumped gracefully over the rocks:
The jungle minnows are upset with trespass.

Conscious of their beauty, shy, they think,
How to debate the matter of habitation,
For that would mar their beauty and temper;
The peacocks’ cries are often heard,
Saying the forest land is constrained,
Human settlements needed no more.

Shocked I was when sat on a rock,
Opening my eyes, ending a reverie;
Saw a group of camels walking towards me:
Threat to me or not, could not decide;
Hurried away to make myself safe,
Feeling like the hare whose path I crossed.

The wild animals seldom approach men;
Adventurous and loving humans do approach,
To find the animals, the foliage, living differently;
Only those who love these birds and animals,
And love to loiter by the dry forest brooks,
Can settle the tussle for survival fairly.

Waste littered along the forest fringes,
Cows and goats, and now the wild animals:
Feed, falling sick on deadly plastic waste;
A mass of small and uneven buildings seen,
The urban village is lying low to encroach:
The land department seems non-committal.


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