Curated Contemporary Poetry For Young Readers In Indian Languages
Shakti the Elephant
English - Reeti Roy
Between the foliage and the speckled spiders,
Between the tree trunk and the tree,
Lived a beautiful woodpecker,
And a tiny bumblebee.
The bumblebee had a best friend. His name was Shakti.
Shakti was a baby elephant, sprightly and free.
He loved foliage, roots, leaves, shoots and the bark of the banana tree.
The woodpecker was friends with both of them
Shakti and the bee,
The elephant, the woodpecker and the bumblebee,
Made a merry group of three.
[On a bright morning, Shakti went about his day as usual. He was carrying logs, rice grains and everything else his friend Ravi had asked him to carry. In return, he received a pat on his back. He knew he would be treated to a hearty meal of bananas later.]
As Shakti approached the riverbank,
Three men began to flee
One man was in a camouflage
The same colour as the bark
Of his beloved banana tree.
Shakti caught on easily
They were after his ivory
With blunt force they cut his tendons, and then his trunk
The blood in his body emptied out, fiercely.
In that fleeting moment Shakti knew
That his dreams would remain a fantasy
He would never become the leader of his pack
That would never be his reality.
In the morning, his best friends found him
Spread eagled, near the bark of his favourite tree
But the poachers who had killed him
Could not retrieve his ivory.
Shakti plunged his teeth deep into the soil
While writhing in agony
The poachers did not get
Their coveted ivory.