Trials of entrails

Trials of entrails

I told you my stories
You told me tall tales
Snakes make a slitheries
Because they have scales
Utterly sincere your humanity is 
In my case, it fails
I accept your power
I detest your entrails 
No offense to snakes, your grace
They’ve kindness in their tails. 

In my labyrinthine valleys
You had an enemy you couldn't face
The golden skin and pleading eyes
May they always haunt your space
The fear that led men to their death clinging to cold wings
May it burn like sulphur,  may it leave me without trace.

To every woman we let down
Your dreams, your freedom, your future were mine, and now I must share your disgrace.
Ishita Das. Aug 2021

It’s been an abominably long time since I posted anything on the blog..But, no, I have poems. And I should post them. This one is for the shameful exit of the US from Afghanistan. A graceful exit, admitting defeat and perhaps really working towards ensuring governance would have been something to be relatively proud of. Instead it was left to the flimsy government to make shadowy deals of surrender to reduce bloodshed, which is what they did.. I don’t think there will be a question of women’s rights arising from the region in my life time. Patriarchy is entrenched everywhere, and every woman deals with it or lives with it or perhaps sometimes even enables it (we all know such women, who say “every one has to compromise”, and mean you woman, you have to). Its not something the Taliban came up with. But it is something they look up to . That is the difference. The girls’ robotics group (saved by a woman from Oklahoma with 11 children who is definitely a pro life lady), the many journalists and judges who managed to escape. Scores remaining, what hope do we offer them in this divided, islamophobic world against refugees. The refugees their governments created, uprooted and shattered every hope of a normal life. The young men we will forever remember who fell back to the ground of their country, betraying impenetrable fear and indefatigable hope. It was sad without fathom. It was hope without credence. I pity the US soldiers who witnessed it in reality. Not the ones who died trying to live.

The shadows’ call

Touring the shadows of this home
I see, I made some
I fade some
And I be them all.

When the light is right
Shadows are bright
And together at night
We fight the pall.

Ishita. October 22 2020.

I wrote this poem for my friend, on one of those days the shadows resembled us the most.

Her dying tree

Our golden rain tree
He had been dying a while
Harboring decay
From roots to tile
Curly fungi grew in rows on a stem
Most of the branches
Had no leaves on them..
Still it flowered a few more springs
Its pods dangling through fall..
On one of its tallest dead branches
A mockingbird delighted to call

He noticed the new lady in the house
Give his twisted trunk
A careful browse
He heard her grumbling on
about the million black and red bugs
The ones that mated
Joined at their butts
They did grow in his pods
But what could he do?
Life does defy odds..

For sometime she came out often
Talked to the birds
Chased the dragonflies
Became somewhat a gardener
After much toil and tries.

Later, he wished he could
Tell her, look, I’m half dead
But life’s good.
My trunk grows hollow
So the bugs bore
The woodpeckers love them
It’s makes a good store!
I have few leaves
But my branches still hold
Brooding fledglings
After their mom’s scold.

Last year the winds
Blew hard, but out of this way
I heard a lot of my old pals
Couldn’t hold their sway
That night spared me
And I’m glad I stayed..
Though some years lost grace
I see you smiling again
That smile can light up this place.

I saw her one last time
As I lay sighing my last
Too tired even for a weak storm
My time had gone past
I whispered to her, hush..
My friend, I'll bid farewell with a laugh
As I am not in pain:
You’ve called me boxelder
All these years, in vain
Elder I was, but my name
Is Golden Rain.

September 30 2020.

I realized my tree was a golden rain tree the day he fell, gently.I don't know what prompted me to look up his name again, because for years I called it a box elder tree.. So I think he wanted me to know! I have watched young robins, cardinals being fed on the tree. Woodpeckers did indeed love it. After our neighbors cut off their dangerously tall, also dead, tree earlier this year, this was the only dead or dying tree in the near vicinity. Birds have long memories of familiar trees, they visit and perch on them and also eat the bugs that inhabit the trunks. I Hope they will still know this lawn when they come back next year. 

There’s nowhere to go

There’s nowhere to go

Would you still have dreams
Of love
Will there still be streams 
Or cove
If there was,
Nowhere to go. 

Would you still hope
Of joy
Will there be scope
Or ploy
To be better, when,
There was nowhere to go

Would you remember that time
Stood still
Stunned, I took to rhyme
And quill
Till there was
Nowhere to go

I am there now. 

Ishita. August 24. 
Falling into fall. 

Art 2020

A little on art this year, as a post even if I am cataloging most of my art work under projects in my art portfolio on this blog as well.

This year I visited India and made new contacts with nature enthusiasts, some professional conservationists furthering the cause of wildlife conservation through political campaigning. Being someone who always accepts their real reaction to significant events rather late.. ( perhaps because my subconscious is way more powerful and obscure than my consciousness) I was only to realize what a extraordinary trip this was going to be later, but this time, not too late (one hopes). In terms of its repercussions.. or what I hope will be the repercussions. I also went to show support to the women of Shaheen Bagh, now famous worldwide to lead a peaceful protest against GOI’s discriminatory CAA (citizenship ammendment act) and NRC. I felt kinship to the women sitting at the camp, that was supported by artists like Shubha Mudgal, writers, poets and professors who went on stage to explain the constitution as experts. The rights guaranteed by the constitution to every citizen, and how CAA is anti-constitutional. It is not clear to many Indians how the government can pass unconstitutional laws, even if it is quite a mainstream subject in the US. In India it is generally assumed that the government is lawful, and more so in these times of extreme nationalism when you are either with the government or anti-national. At any rate, somehow this minor (negligible) participation in something significant made me want to do make more negligible contributions to significant things that make my heart feel at peace with the world. Because it is in the right place, with the right people even if both the place and the people are under threat.

As witnessed in this blog and by my friends, I have gravitated towards being a conservationist for several years now, while continuing to use my “academic” training. Since last year I became more closely involved with the Sutton Avian research center in town, which is a very small (in terms of personnel) center pursuing breeding and reintroduction of at least three types of game-birds and separately conducting breeding studies in Oklahoma.So, coming back from India and with my continued and increasing awareness of phenomenal researchers and conservationists working in India, I find myself in the middle of a pandemic, and waiting to go back to India. As the Indian government make naught of forest protection acts, sentencing pristine, global diversity hotspots to destruction, like by (nearly approving) the construction of the Etalin dam in the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh or by the approval of coal mining in Dehing Patkai elephant reserve in Assam, I feel more drawn towards wanting to make a meaningful contribution. To somehow make concrete my connection to the Indian wild. Somewhere I have never really been, but I know I must try to see if it will have me.

Most of these drawings are not of India species, but everyone needs to practice somewhere, and if I may ask for your wishes to help me get to somewhere I can use this practice.

Other artwork from this series is also here in my blog.