NaPoWriMo Day 6 : The Other side

Our prompt yesterday asked you to take inspiration from another poem, and today’s continues in the same vein. This prompt, which comes from Holly Lyn Walrath, is pretty simple. As she explains it here:

Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.

I took the line, ” Eat or be eaten” from the book ‘The White Tiger’ by Aravind Adiga, and wrote the poem ‘The other side.’ The poem is based on something that appeared last year while we were under lockdown. I wrote this poem based on the news item on 5th June, 2020 (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/elephant-killed-explosive-pineapple-india-man-arrested/)  of an elephant that died on 27th May, after eating a pineapple filled with explosives kept for warding off wild boars. The pregnant cow elephant had strayed from the forest and eaten the pineapple. With its jaw and tongue destroyed, it had been unable to eat and was found dead in a lake. When I heard about it, my first reaction was like anybody else – I felt outraged that somebody could be that cruel to kill an innocent creature. People from all walks of life raised their voice against what had happened.  This poem is from the point of view of the farmers who were blamed. (https://india.mongabay.com/2020/06/elephants-become-collateral-damage-in-the-fight-against-crop-raiding-boars/).

I appreciate the fact that you may not agree with my point of view but I believe every coin has two sides and it’s important to know ‘The other side’ before jumping to a conclusion.

______________________________________

An elephant dies

There is hue and cry

Across the nation

Frantic

the citizens

raise their voice

in unison

“A mother-to-be, has been killed!

The murderers be damned”

I feel their pain and hers, I do!

I shuddered when the explosion ripped her mouth,

and rattled her jaw

I heard her fall with a thud

She

and her baby

were dead

I found it wrong

My mind says, ‘Why should I be punished?’

Who decides who is to be damned?

You?

I have seen animals being hurt before

Even killed

For festivals, to appease the Gods –

The sacrificial goat fed and then dragged

to be butchered at the altar

For entertainment

as game for men to watch

I have seen the scars on the thick, wrinkled skin of elephants

being trained and on horses, their necks bruised

Are you a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian? I want to know

My children went to bed hungry yesterday

My crop was destroyed. We eat no meat.

My hens were stolen

The wall around my home was trampled

I put up a fire, I kept vigil

I laid a bait

To ward off the intruders – 

The wild boar, a menace, it died

So did the fox that came in the stealth of night

And the elephant

She was innocent; she did not deserve to die

I feel bad about what happened; I do

But I am a provider, a protector

A father

Will you believe me if I tell you?

I am sorry, I had not meant it to happen.

Look me in the face

Tell me if you were in my place

If your children were in danger

And your home

and your land

What would you do?

Who should be blamed- tell me

‘I who laid the bait or they who gave me no choice?’

P.S. Please note I am against violence against humans, animals and any living being. If my poetry has hurt your sentiments in any way, I am sorry. However, if you feel there is some truth in ‘The other side,’ please let me know.

Copyright@smithavishwanathsblog.com. All Rights Reserved.

NaPoWriMo

8 comments

  1. Hi Smitha, I couldn’t comment on this post form my iphone for some reason. This is a poignant poem and really wrenched at my heartstings. We have the same problem here in Africa with poaching and murder of animals. It is largely a result of the poverty of our people who can’t care about animals when their families need food.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robbie. You know in this case they weren’t even poaching. They were protecting their crops. Atleast in Africa they are poor and that’s why they do it. I was watching a documentary yesterday on how Japan is killing dolphins and whales big time. It was shocking.
      Thank you Robbie for making the effort to write the comment despite the glitch with the phone💛

      Like

  2. Stand tall and take the praise. You have looked this quandary in the face and asked the uncomfortable question – well done. If I could say anything else it would be to ask you not to leave this alone. I think you have more than the basis of a really important piece of work here.

    Liked by 1 person

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