Bio Note: This poem was inspired by reputed environmentalist Ranjit Lal's Sunday column in an Indian national daily. In this particular article, he writes about the various ways Nature 'unboxes' itself - from seed to tree to insect to animals to humans. The most 'messy and noisy' are humans, aptly reflected even in ways we 'unbox' our new-found possessions, adding to Earth's burden of ‘indisposables’! I have also been doing some travel writing, some haibun and more haiku.
The Art of Unboxing
Unboxing an online delivery is to be swamped by bullet-proof plastic, bubble wrap, Thermocol - enough to fill a hulking trash can. Using a vengeful box cutter is to get thumbs to bleed, opening a rock-hard tuna can to web-splice fingers neatly. Unboxing a bottle of Indian made foreign liquor is undivorced from the wish to smash it to smithereens. The policy is to make boxing vandal proof, child-proof. Both vandals and kids can unbox, beating policy with ease. Nature does things differently. The hatching of a bird’s egg is an unboxing miracle. Using a temporary egg tooth at the tip of its beak, a scrawny creature emerges - pink and pimply, gape and gut but quick to rise on quivery legs - freed. A chrysalis will intimate that it will unbox by the morning, the rolled-up butterfly in its husk becoming visible. After a series of convulsive heaves, the chrysalis breaks open, a fresh glistening creature climbs out, crawls to the nearest perch, hangs out its wings to dry, to stiffen, to sail out into a new vastness. A tree unboxes its leaves as seasons change, with gentleness. It senses what’s coming and stops the supply of nutrients. The leaf responds by sending its own food to tree roots to store. It starves even when in pigments of the most vivid scarlet-gold. The mother ship lets go and the brilliant leaf wafts to the earth, nourishing as it lands – gently, indistinguishably.
©2021 Neera Kashyap
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