Tuesday, May 20, 2008


`Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

COME to the pane, draw the curtain apart,
There she is passing, the girl of my heart;
See where she walks like a queen in the street,
Weather-defying, calm, placid and sweet.
Tripping along with impetuous grace,
Joy of her life beaming out of her face,
Tresses all truant-like, curl upon curl,
Wind-blown and rosy, my little March girl.

Hint of the violet's delicate bloom,
Hint of the rose's pervading perfume!
How can the wind help from kissing her face,—
Wrapping her round in his stormy embrace?
But still serenely she laughs at his rout,
She is the victor who wins in the bout.
So may life's passions about her soul swirl,
Leaving it placid,—my little March girl.

What self-possession looks out of her eyes!
What are the wild winds, and what are the skies,
Frowning and glooming when, brimming with life,
Cometh the little maid ripe for the strife?
Ah! Wind, and bah! Wind, what might have you now?
What can you do with that innocent brow?
Blow, Wind, and grow, Wind, and eddy and swirl,
But bring to me, Wind,— my little March girl.

( The above poem appeared in Dunbar's 1899 Lyrics of the Hearthside. It was discovered in Poem of the Week)

Do I Need a Say

Musings.... Why?

I was at the Central Railway Station 1:30 AM. The Station was Very Clean with neat benches and open surroundings that facilitate natural air-flow. I sat a bench and was almost about to doze off caressed by the incessant & gentle morning breeze.

Then this girl came. Unkempt hair that had turned brownish, double pig tails, an oversized yellowish T-Shirt that came upto her knees, dirty finger nails, chaffed lips and smears of dust on her young face signified that she has never had a roof over her head. I am guessing that the lady who was sleeping with 2 more children beside her was her mother. What kept this child awake at that unearthy hour, I do not know.

The eyes did not have a shine, the lips were moving but there wasn’t any sound. The hands were moving but nothing was created - a story was being told, without any imagination.

The girl had befriended a dog. The dog was sleeping peacefully and the girl was patting it’s head - I doubt if the dog’s own mother would have cared any better.

I called her and was met with no recognition. I slowly ambled across. I smiled. That seemed to disarm her and she smiled back with tiny yellow teeth. I asked her why she was patting the dog - she says “That’s what Ma does to make my younger brother sleep; she says this way he’ll sleep well.”

I am speechless. Some thing tells me that maybe I can offer her some biscuits. I walk to the Railway Store and get a packet of biscuits. I offer her - she takes it gladly. The dog shows some signs of stirring.

She opens the packet. She takes all the biscuits out and arranges them on a piece of plastic she obtains from near her mother’s head. She divides the business into 4 equal groups and 1 larger lot. I am curious.

I ask her. She says “this for me, this for this(the dog), this for ramu(pointing to one sleeping child), this for ravi (pointing to the other sleeping child) and this(ther larger lot) is for Ma.” I ask “why so much for Ma?” She says “Ma says she is two and my baby brother is inside her tummy. So she should eat more.”

If that was a question as her enquiring eyes suggested, I had no answer. Such generosity under such a circumstance from a young girl of about 4 years, stumps me.

What did she do to deserve this? Is it right to punish someone for their mistakes in the previous births? Is Karma so ruthless that it will not even provide a fair chance to someone?