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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gratitude 8 : Plumeria Pink

Gratitude 7 has been written and is being saved for a particular occasion. This here is therefore Gratitude 8, a tribute to old companions and the good times spent with them.
Plumeria Pink

In our old school of a decade and a fifth
There grew two plumeria trees
With pale trunks
And branches dressed all year in delicate blossoms
And decked with the sounds of our laughter --

One tree mine, blooming innocent white
The other yours, its blossoms
Rebelliously touched with pink
Both with leaves most joyously resplendent 
With the hopes of our youth, and with the joy
Of being home to little creatures -- birds, spiders, caterpillars;

And the fallen blooms
Adorned our childish funerals of dead birds
And the occasional dead squirrel
The souls of which we prayed for as is taught :
But oh, futile teaching of transience! While 
We mourned the woodsy creatures, not once did we doubt
The permanence of our play upon the plumerias' boughs.

Then suddenly one day the trees
Were inches higher than how we knew them
And the two of us, miles farther
Than we ever dreamed we'd be,
Our new schools
On opposite ends of a six-lane expressway, jammed
With honking six-wheeled lorries and six-feet trailers,
Sixty five kilometers of bustling commerce between us.

Sometimes I wonder if, there, you ever see any plumerias
Like the ones we climbed --
Because lining the wall of my new school here
Grow a perfect infantry of their kind;
Confident in the appeal of their white blooms they smile at me and call,
Especially after a morning rain
Or in the afternoons when the bus runs late
They expectantly watch me as I walk over, touch them, smell their fallen flowers;
And when I quietly walk away, they ask me why

And to their utter hurt I tell them
That for all their beauty of blossoms pure and brightly white,
They cannot give me that which I miss
For they bloom white, so white, far too white --
Too confident, too comfortable in white to ever care or ever dare
To wear the slightest blush of pink.

All the trees mentioned are real, and the poem contains little bits of some real people as well. I thought of this poem when I saw children in my new school playing beneath the plumerias, not long after I'd made a visit to my old school. In hindsight, my study of Toru Dutt's 'Our Casuarina Tree' in my old school for the ICSE probably influenced my thinking -- it is interesting to note that Dutt's poem mentions yet another poem by an even greater poet -- 'The Yew Trees of Borrowdale' by Wordsworth.
Also, the first time I have varies stanza lengths to such an extent -- so do tell me if it's working.


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