Woods are lovely

Dark and deep

Wrote Robert Frost

A poet of fame.


Mist and rain feed

The trees on soil bed

Winds rock them

To sleep tight

With their hum.


Some reach out high

To the clouds

Murmuring the stories

Down on the ground.


While the thick vines

Hold the trees close

Like a girl crying;

Holding her mother.


Termites wear away

The old trunk

When branches are

Dancing with flowers.


Where will the birds nest?

Where will the fruits grow?

Bees buzzing aimless

Their hive is no more.


No fledgeling chirped

When the green roof fell

Down, flying to the ground.

Axe makes trees or not.


This poem was  included in the 5th annual ‘art and poems for peace’ project by The Art of Autism  a community from the USA to empower autistic people through art.


Life had been gushing like a stream in those days when my age had not crossed thirteen. Among my family’s young members, I was the worried one. Worried about my future. The future that I wanted for myself.
My parents thought that I was crazy. My brothers and sisters thought that I was an idiot. My teachers thought that I wanted to escape my class work.
When most children spent long hours bent over their books my mind would drift into the woods often dragging me behind. The woods bordered our town. A small river bordered the woods. A wide pond was there in the middle of the woods. Lotus bloomed all over the pond.
The woods always lured a wide spectrum of visitors.
Some came in search of food- fruits, nuts and honey. Some came to hunt. They wanted to catch fish or lay traps to catch parrots. Some people are so selfish and greedy that ignorance and indifference had overcome their common sense. Careless are they who shout and sing loudly, beating drums, in the woods that embody nature’s harmony. More people bear no thought about the river and pond turning into waste stores.
Meanwhile I used to go into the woods in search of a bird. A mystical bird.
A bird that flies all over the world among all woods big and small.
Once I had heard a very sad song by a bird. It had come from a garden near the woods. A song from a broken heart of a wounded soul. But I could not see the bird. This had happened about two years ago.
I told my grandma about this unseen bird that was weeping for some unknown reason.
“Ask the reason to the bird. It will hear you even if you can’t see it.” She said.
Believe me, one day I was resting under a mango tree in our urban forest and I heard a bird sing. Why should the bird be so mournful when the tree was overladen with ripe mangoes on every branch? I decided to move around the woods to find out the bird and discover the reason for the sadness in its tweets.
But the bird was not anywhere to be seen. Not high up the tall trees not hidden by the thick foliage. The wet ground had not collected unique feathers. Was I searching for an invisible bird? A life unreal?
Waiting for the unhappy voice to echo among the trees one day I received a shock in the form of another sound.
Flutter of wings!
As if a bird had alighted briskly on the branch of a tree that was there in front of me. The leaves shook suddenly and had become motionless in a few seconds. The branch jerked once. Everything was quiet; soon.
My mind raced with time trying to sense if an invisible creature was there, that might have seen me.

“Who are you? Where are you? I want to see you. I can hear you. My heart tells me that you have come to see me. You wish to tell me something. You can rely on me to help you. Please come to me and tell me why you are sad”.
I began my conversation with a vacant looking branch.
“Worn out remains the earth and the sky
The animals and plants are saying goodbye”
I could hear a song loud and clear.
“Memories of green earth will haunt you
Something right unless the humans do”
The bird was trying to warn us.
Evening was covering the earth and sky in shades of orange and red. Slowly the woods were being enveloped in darkness. My eyes spotted a fiery glow on the tree in front of me.
Was it a glow worm?
Slowly the glow grew and took the form of a bird.
Fire bird!
“Waiting was I for a kind soul
To care mother earth from burning whole”
My eyes stayed open that night. I kept wondering about the words of the Fire bird. The bird had wanted me to lead a mission to save the earth. Our next meeting was to happen soon.
The firebird narrated how she would fly from places to places with woods and forests over countries and continents, whenever a tree fell, a forest wiped out or woods caught fire.
Calling out to other lives in the vicinity, she would ask them to escape, but only after each one collected enough seeds which will be taken to the orbit of creation by the seed train.
“The seed train is within the rainbow. Birds fly high with the seeds collected and put them in the seed train. With the animals and plants getting a cruel deal from the humans the quantity of seeds collected is going down. Many centuries later the green colour of the earth may go away if we allow people to exploit nature without preserving some of it. The seed train takes the seeds to the orbit of creation where they remain safe. After long spells of drought anywhere on earth, the rain clouds bring the seeds back to the earth and they sprout when it rains.
But nowadays I worry how many wetlands will remain on earth. Seeds cannot sprout without moist soil. Collecting seeds alone is not going to restore the greenery of the earth. Water is needed for life to thrive.
How can we birds collect water in large quantities? We had asked the elephants to help. But the jumbos were not ready. They were not sure if they could make it. They feared the men and women who used to come to get water from the waterhole bordering the forest and the village. They said that they might be attacked with crackers and they did not want to waste time and energy running for lives. That is why I am looking for kind and sensitive youngsters like you to conserve water.” The firebird flew up singing
“Plant a tree or two
The earth the rain should go into
Seeds are needed and water too
To keep the earth in good green view.”
A lightning ripped across the sky. My thoughts drenched my notebook with my plans to save ponds and rivers. To create action groups for rain water harvesting, cleaning water bodies and to stop wasting water.

It was easy for everyone to nod in agreement. Posters and short films circulated much. More people joined us in our efforts to make the earth greener. Governments actively ensured that development would not be at the cost of lost plants and ponds. We were happy and proud to have been part of the world wide movement to protect mother nature.
World seemed to move along the path of hope. More trees and rivers survived the changing times. The earth once again began to change into green, slowly.
This was the future I had wanted for me, the future I had wanted for our earth. A safe and peaceful future.
A couple of years had gone by and why was I not meeting the firebird? I grew anxious.
It was a dry sunny afternoon. Soon the sky faded and a wind blew in a few dark clouds. It drizzled for some time. Then a rainbow showed itself gently over the horizon.
My eyes filled with glee when the firebird alighted on top of a lamp post beside me.
“Only to see you I’ve come
To bid farewell it is time.
The last train to earth goes back
With no seeds collected in a pack”
We had wanted a world that would sustain itself. My questions seemed to go unheard as the fire bird chirped with no pause.
“We have now seen that to award any creation with the bliss of existence every life should allow coexistence. No more species should go extinct. Such devastations could be prevented if humans would care about nature and why should there be seed trains any more. We leave earth to earthlings.”
What more was there to learn? This was the most important lesson of survival.
My gaze went skywards.
The rainbow had vanished.

Micro tales -1

Micro tale challenge conducted by On Fire Cultural Movement

Thank you for making this beautiful world, my loving family and kind people who help others. Give us the wisdom to live our lives as you plan. Be merciful to all. Help us to know our mistakes and correct them. Do give me the power to become a better me
Door is bolted from inside. Where has everyone gone so early? I called them aloud No response. I climbed up the attic. I could see my sister turn, her finger on her lips. Kitty has given birth to three kittens. All are busy stuffing old cloths into a cardboard box
When invisible hands took muffins from the bakery no one knew it was me. When I fed it to the child on the street she knew it was me and smiled, my bangles were jingling.
No one need to see me. I know my heart is visible to whom I love.

Elusive Courage


That noise irritates my stolen peace

Tide retreating revealing the thirst of rocks

Epics remain silent but not unaware

Devouring the sounds of aching hearts

Soft voice surrounds me as I pull me back

Vision now meets the plain blue horizon.

Courage it cannot be called; valour never

To access a sword to divide one’s heart

I will do it or perhaps hope I will not be called to do it

Decisions are hard, when lost remains your trust in you

compliments and nice words have no meanings for me

I turn away from wonderful descriptions about myself

But why many tasks for me? let me sleep and dream

Away sends me huddled in my arms, a shivering me

My scary thoughts, without a chance to turn back

Choice of each step worries me, nothing hides my despair

Bitter thoughts of failure, sinking down deep with no reclaim

Judge not by the shadows they turn long and short

Sometimes it zooms, but the sun alone can show it

Pure heart only trembles as it is light as a leaf.


The gates never opened for anyone, but the delivery boys

Groceries and fruits suddenly seemed to be not so available

The state fed the helpless and heard their pleading voice

In the “HEIGHTS RISING” all were striving to be humble.


Children bored with English, Yoga and other lessons online

Missed their cousins, the get togethers, busy malls and 7D movies

Snacks made at home, no dream of Pizza Hut visit to dine

What a loss! No picnics ! but a citizen cannot give up his duties.


While some women shared on Facebook; their school photos with new friends

Files and folders piled up for some; as their babies sat on potty, their phones rang.

A nurse’s mom called her on video, prayed for those in the isolation wards

Sharing news fake or not, hoping the markets to boom before the profits sank.


They only had a parrot for company, in a silver painted cage

Not possible to use the lift, no strength to spend on stairs, climbing.

Days remained the same; oats, fruits and medicines for their old age

The tall man brought in provisions, to help he was always willing.


Alone, tired of himself, closed in the room he was worried

Courage was elusive, especially when he needed it every minute

Was there a cough, that came with him along the borders he had crossed?

To keep everyone else safe he chose a long, lonely and scary wait.


The gym and the swimming pool lay idle, untouched, in wait

The beautiful and the strong seemed not to worry about their BMI

When the deadly virus might be hiding to get you by a bait

Then everyone has to stay indoors with a watchful eye.


Streets seemed unfamiliar, life uncertain as her purse grew thin

News not very reassuring, yet there showed some light in the darkness

Daily wages of a woman who ironed is not there now to feed her kin

Misfortune, a curse, travelled around he world, had not made a small mess.


Only a light up there in a corner, on the right side of the western block

Somewhere on the eleventh floor, where an artist might have been painting, is on

He kept looking at it, and kept guard all night, the land had put on itself a lock

It gave him strength for his duty, earn for his home, with the stars that shone.


What else can save the people, now in all nations of this ailing world

But personal hygiene and social distancing to be kept by all, strict

Human race now subdued by the deadly outbreak of disease covid

There is no room for arguments, only a short time for any rescuing act.



നാടും കാടും

ഭക്ഷണം തേടിയലയുന്നു ഞാനുമിനിയിന്ന്
കാട്ടിലും മേട്ടിലും കായ്‌പിടിക്കാത്ത പാഴ്മരച്ചോട്ടിലും
കത്തുന്ന വയറെനിക്കുണ്ട്, കായുന്ന മനസ്സും
കാത്തിരിക്കുന്നെൻറെ വരവിനായാ പിന്മുറക്കാർ
തീർക്കണം ഞാനവർക്കായ് ആശ്രയം
കണ്ടുവച്ചിരുന്നു ഞാനിവിടെ വിശപ്പിന്നുത്തരം
മൂത്തു പഴുത്തു വിളഞ്ഞു നിന്ന പൊൻപ്രതീക്ഷകൾ
കൊടുംകാറ്റത ദൂരെ പിഴുതെറിഞ്ഞാൽ
മലയിടിഞ്ഞു മണ്ണുവന്നു മൂടിപുതഞ്ഞാൽ
ഞാനുമെൻ കനവുകളും വഴുതിവീഴുന്നു തകരുന്നു

വിശന്നിട്ടു ഞാൻ കാടുകേറി നിലമൊരുക്കാൻ മരമറുത്തു
വിശന്നിട്ടു ഞാൻ പാടത്തിറങ്ങി വാഴക്കുല ചീന്തി

കാറ്റിനെ ജയിക്കാൻ പാറ തകർത്തു വീടൊരുക്കി
തൊണ്ടനനയ്ക്കാൻ നഗരമിളക്കി നിരത്തിലിറങ്ങി

മുന്നിൽ നിൽക്കുന്നതാര് ? വഴിമുടക്കുന്നതാര് ?

നരിയോ നരനോ ?
പന്നിയോ മന്നനോ ?
ആനയോ മാനവനോ?

ഒരു വെടിയൊച്ച !
സൂത്രമറിയുന്നവൻ അവൻ!


By Sherin Mary Zacharia

A layered coat of dust and timeless
Serves to cover me with an ancient charm
My memorable remains lie withered in the
Those were the times when the fables were
Loved by the generations that once existed
Where are those tiny feet that moved
around the mango tree?
The ribbons fluttering in the day light bright
Rhymes no longer repeated, no babbling
Coloured paper not flying in pieces
No inky pinky ponkies, no mulberry bush
Who will chase the theif? Who is the police?
Never have they sat next to each other
Nor played basket, shared juice and lunch.
The bell was dark heavyvand loud then
A key press now boots well into the new
school day
To take notes about a world that had once
With sports, dance, picnics and
get togethers
More virtual friends zoomed in to video call
Links were plenty, but the souls longed for a
warm hug.

The painter

About the migrant labourer who paints the apartments

photograph by Shreya Susan Zacharia


The view, real from top did not scare him

The wind strong shook only his dry brown hair

When a vacant seat beckoned, he doubted his destiny

Everything was fine, hanging by the rope to paint.

A job, an income, which made beautiful all walls

A smile, a hope in a small house distant to reach

Doors assured to open, trains set to hoot, time runs.

A virus cannot turn upside his dreams, he is sure

He worked in the sun and in rain, set to serve his Co.

A decision to hang on to the thick rope from heaven

Kindness and care all around, he kept his word to be safe

When his brothers marched towards their ends tragic

He held on and painted his life’s colours, in increasing faith

Cyclone Amphen was spiralling homewards, killer winds rise

His folks may soon need money, trouble seems to double

He held tight to the long brush as he painted