A Tree in Betla

Amita Paul

If I was a Tree, I’d most probably be
A Mahua tree in the Betla Forest ,
Near Netarhaat, with fat black bears
Coming to feast on my flowers
Every April, and Junglefowl perched
In my branches singing sweet birdsong
All day long, and bees building a hive ,
Tempting the fat bears even more,
And silver wolves slinking by on full moon nIghts
And red ants tickling my sturdy roots
And primitive Korwa tribals emerging
From their leaf huts to chant their chants
And gather more flowers in the Spring, for food
And wine to drink and dance to at festivals
And weddings, with elephants dropping by
To share the goodies specially the rice wine
And dori fruit in Autumn that yields oil
That mothers massage their babies with
To make them tanned and strong
And now and then, a yellow white and black
Gazania-faced tiger with honey gold eyes.

Amita Paul

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.


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