THE BALLAD OF THE JACARANDA

a poem by Rita Joyce Singh, India

Walked six years, that way,
And watched this new suburb’s trend.
Near Mysore Highway,
Close to Bengaluru’s end.
Three storeys tall, stood,
This awesome tree-spread, so pretty.
Blue blossoms, good wood,
Half acre’s canopy.
‘Neath with sun-warmings,
Faded blue a carpet rose.
Of fallen, dried awnings,
Nature’s cycle, as it goes.
Hanging Traffic Lights,
Often, brushed by its branches.
Red light, hid from sights,
Officals, took no chances.
The machinery,
Was then set into motion.
People versus tree,
Few friends, one odd emotion.
The huge saws came in,
Chopping through, the whole, big tree,
Adding noise and din,
Workmen yelled, ‘Timber!’ in glee.
The earthmovers filled,
The gaping hole with rubble.
The tree was thus killed,
At great cost and much trouble.
The decorators,
Carted leaves to weddings halls.
Such deft creators,
Blooms to florists’ stalls.
The carpet-pile, twigs and chips,
All collected, swept,
Offals for funeral trips,
Departed unwept.
Their nests and hives gone,
The birds and the bees hovered,
Twittered , buzzed, flew on,
Their losses unrecovered.
The tree’s life on earth,
Cut short, for sale by auction.
Fetched a pittance’s worth,
The wood went for a fraction.

Traffic lights are safe now,
No mix-up of colour red.
Strange.. Green light, some how,
Blinks. Reminder of the dead.
Jacaranda tree,
God dressed your kind soul in wood.
You would have lived free,
You would have, lived, If you could.
Note: Offals: (OE for small twigs, straws etc used for lighting fire)

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