The Weeds

K Radhakumar
Never have I ventured into the yard
At the back of the farmhouse;
It is quite a wide area
And is overgrown with weeds.

I remember killing a long cobra
When I was a nine-year-old child.
For many years, the images of the snake
Cornered in a grove of bamboos
Haunted me at bedtime.
I could not forget
Its body about three feet up from the tail
Caught in a dead and hardened bamboo shoot
By the metal point of a homemade spear –
A child’s weapon of a not-so-long wooden handle
And sharp metal points.
Its forked tongue!
How it spat and hissed!

I have the feeling
The yard can harbour venomous snakes.
The homeless dirty things
Rats crickets spiders
Fighting for the right of abode!

The weeds!
This morning these things bend and withstand
The heaviest ever snowfall
In my experience.
Ah! The naughty and thick-skinned weeds
Look beautiful and true to themselves.
Though they are beaten and broken
Never do they bow to the snowfall
The pressures and pains of modern life.
What a difference
From the other side of the farmhouse!
There hundreds of tough branches and twigs
And even top portions of the hard stems
Lie scattered around the farmhouse
A picture of genocide!
Casualties of a suicidal resistance
To a force beyond their control!
The weaklings taking refuge in death!
And what is a weed to a tree
In terms of physical strength?
Have you got a whatchamacall it?
You know – a punching bag.
Mon vieux, roll with the punches.

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