Listening for the Myna

Listening for the Myna

My grandfather would say 
As I rode the hills on his shoulders –
Waves of green hills bisected by bubbling streams
and meandering terracotta roads;

Terraces of rubber trees in crooked rows,
and jackfruit, palm, and teak
amidst vines, amidst blue-violet wild flowers
angling to the sun. 

He’d draw me into 
the songs of the myna and quail
and owl and woodpecker
And the myriad chirps and calls of insects. 

The birds were always fleeting silhouettes to my young eyes.

We had been on our way to gather mushrooms…
They always crop up after a good crackle of lightning
He was always right—
we always came home with our hands full.

Every vacation back home I’d walk the hills
with grandfather and hear the stories
of the land and sky and water—
so many trees, so little time.

Later—after he passed away in peaceful sleep,
and we buried him on a damp Friday,
I remember thinking that he would be happy now,
to become one with earth, nourishing his beloved trees—
becoming those trees. 

They have cut down all the rubber trees now,
and planted something more economical—something 
that has robbed the hills of their majesty, their dignity.
So, too, of the birdsongs—they are still there,
but far fewer. I can still make out a few
as I strain to hear the myna.


Hailing from the beautiful southern Indian coastal state of Kerala, steeped in green and poetry, I am a spiritual vagabond still trying to figure it out. I am presently working as a piano teacher in Mumbai. Some of my works have appeared in Café Dissensun, Oratoria, Wild Word and EntropyMag

Banner image courtesy the poet.