Monday, March 14, 2011

Tiger's milk

The five-year-old
Ensconced on his grandfather's lap
Listening to the story of the boy
Sent to fetch tiger's milk
By his foster-mother,
Asks the milkman
Why he can't bring
Something as exotic as that
And helpfully suggests
That he can find a tigress in the zoo;
His questions grow weirder ---
During a visit to the temple
He finds the silence oppressive
Devotees give him stern looks
When he speaks loudly
It is the school all over again
Or like the landlord back home
Wanting him to be
As noiseless as a cat,
He wants to know
Why the priest alone can talk
Why he can't run around
The vast courtyard
Clap, jump, yell, laugh
Play pranks like the god-child
He had heard extolled
In the stories he had been told
What do you tell him?
That wild ones
Are banished to the forest
And only tame ones can live here?

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