Monday, November 2, 2009

Vultures by Chinua Achebe

Couple of days have been a roller coaster ride... Both from Within and Without (My favourite phrase of all time!). There have been times when I was wondering what could be the realm of consciousness that we term as I. The outreach that every I reaches towards every We! I wonder if I make sense, or if I ever will, but I can't make sense of so many things happening around!

I read this wonderful poem Vultures by Chinua Achebe. It's a very intense poem. His comparison of Love, Need, and Duty, and how life gives us hazy and relative boundaries between these. Boundaries that are strict for some, very loose or non-existent for many. Life and Individuals.

It has become a favourite poem. Specially the last verse. The play of words and feelings that are very very close to reality! A reality very different from the reality we perceive!

Vultures by Chinua Achebe

In the greyness
and drizzle of one despondent
dawn unstirred by harbingers
of sunbreak a vulture
perching high on broken
bone of a dead tree
nestled close to his
mate his smooth
bashed-in head, a pebble
on a stem rooted in
a dump of gross
feathers, inclined affectionately
to hers. Yesterday they picked
the eyes of a swollen
corpse in a water-logged
trench and ate the things in its bowel. Full
gorged they chose their roost
keeping the hollowed remnant
in easy range of cold
telescopic eyes ...

indeed how love in other
ways so particular
will pick a corner
in that charnel-house
tidy it and coil up there, perhaps
even fall asleep - her face
turned to the wall!

...Thus the Commandant at Belsen
Camp going home for
the day with fumes of
human roast clinging
rebelliously to his hairy
nostrils will stop
at the wayside sweet-shop
and pick up a chocolate
for his tender offspring
waiting at home for Daddy's return ...

Praise bounteous
providence if you will
that grants even an ogre
a tiny glow-worm
tenderness encapsulated
in icy caverns of a cruel
heart or else despair
for in every germ
of that kindred love is
lodged the perpetuity
of evil.

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