PRELUDE TO "LIFE" (Whatever that means!) : a poem by Deepak Menon


As the shadows deepened with the setting sun
a dusty old Ford rolled into the Park of Fun
and parked in a corner of the parking lot
adjacent to a vacant and empty plot.

But no sooner had the ancient vehicle stopped
the driver his sweating forehead mopped
gave a few curses, at large to the world
and droplets of sweat out the window hurled.

With a groan of discomfort he stepped out of the car
and walked to the Ticket Window which was not very far
buying a ticket like a lion stalking into his lair
he walked through the gates of the Fun fair

A strange thing happened as he entered the gate
he felt that he had entered the fair too late
but too late for what ? He frowned in thought
shut his ears the sound of the fair to blot

But think as he would he could not recall
even a single incident from his past at all
which could have made him hesitate this way
he could’nt even remember what he ate that day.

Finally with a shrug of his shoulders he went inside
and ambled across the fair to the other side
guided by an instinct from the back of his mind
he walked into a stall not expecting to find

any thing over there to make him laugh
and came face to face with a newborn calf
which was one of the most unexpected things
that he had ever encountered in all his flings

of which he had a fair number to account for
from nearby New York city to far away Gor.
A smile came unexpectedly to his thin lips
as he beheld the calf wriggle its hips

and then the calf looked him in the eye
drawing from him a very long drawn sigh
at the wonder of the innocence of the calf
and then he was compelled to laugh

at the way the calf staggered and swayed
as directly towards him its way it made.
He backed away in consternation from the stall
but stopped when he heard a plaintive call

from the mouth of the calf which opened wide
and asked him politely to come inside.
He stopped in his tracks with wide open mouth
looked east and west and north and south

but could not see a single person around
who could have uttered an audible sound.
He looked again at the new born calf
and started at his own stupidity to laugh

when all a sudden the calf spoke again
asking him politely if it would rain.
This time he had in his mind no doubt
that it was the calf who had spoken aloud.

He fearfully backed away a step or two
when the calf asked if he had seen the zoo.
This strange question made him pause
and he looked thoughtfully at his paws

pricked up his ears and retracted his nails
and told the calf that animals had tails
then with a cry of horror he realised
that instead of hands – paws hung by his side

he turned to the mirror to see his face
and saw of human features not a trace
instead of a nose he had now a snout
and long canines projected from his mouth

It was a saber tooth tiger that he faced.
In panic round and round the fair he raced
with the calf trundling along behind him
frolicking and full of vigour and vim

and the people there clapped their hands in glee
for it was a most amazing sight to see
as is often expected in fairs of that kind
where people go to relax their mind.

The saber tooth suddenly screeched to a halt
and turned into a stall selling iodised salt
took some and hastily gave the calf a lick
and promptly swaggered out like some city slick!


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