The Naysayers

They sit on both sides of the fence,
Sip their wine and warm their hands
With yesterday’s smouldering fire.
Words slip
Through the slits in their lips
And settle down in the ash.
Wrapped in a cynical shroud,
They perpetually cry out loud
Whichever way the river flows.

Among them,
Some unroll their dark side from under their sleeves,
And rattle off questions,
What’s right with the world? Nothing’s at ease.

Did you see the spots on the sun?
Something tells me, we need to be on the run.

Why plough the field?
Why sow the seed?
It didn’t rain last year,
It won’t this time too.
Those clouds are illusions,
They’d last for only an hour or two.

They frequently appeal
To keep in check your zeal,
And when on the river bank they see
A man toiling to build a boat,
Why bother to work so hard, they say,
You ain’t good enough to keep it afloat.

And as the years go,
The lethargy begins to show.
Their bottoms have grown fatter
Their feet have slowed down,
Their tongues morphed into spikes,
Their feet nailed to the ground.

Their audience has moved,
Now it’s too late to start afresh, they say.
So they trudge to the river bank,
Call the oarsman to get his boat,
And cross the river to whine another day.

You, we, them, us

For years, she fed crows at her window sill,
And they came faithfully
to feast on the pieces of bread she tossed.

The pigeons would look from a distance,
Enticed by the banquet,
Never brave enough to fly
Or even walk
A few yards to enjoy the feast.

Damn the crows, she would say
Someday the parrots will come
And eat out of my hand.

During winters
A flock of geese formed the Vee,
And flew down south.

In her neighbourhood there was a cage
Housing three squirrels,
One looked as if he was nearing the end of his life,
He slept for sixteen hours in a day,
and for the rest of the time he munched on the nuts left in the tray.
The other two ran around their prison,
Looking for a broken wire or an opening large enough
to be the key to freedom.
After an hour, the smallest rodent would join the sleepy one in munching the nuts
While the other kept running around.

Throughout the year,
parrots gorged on the fruits in the forest
That was bordered by her home.

It’s been years now,
The crows still feed on the bread.
Tomorrow, she will move to another city.