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
raise their voice
“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
and her baby
I found it wrong
My mind says, ‘Why should I be punished?’
Who decides who is to be damned?
I have seen animals being hurt before
For festivals, to appease the Gods –
The sacrificial goat fed and then dragged
to be butchered at the altar
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
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.
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