TAMING THE SHREW (this is my extension to vikram seth’s “the forg and the nightingale”)

Then, one night, unlike any other,

Was unusually darker and rather,

The silence was quite deafening,

And the animals feared something…

They began a reluctant countdown,

And patiently waited for the sound,

That they dreaded the most,

More than the 40 theives’ ghosts.

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three –

All rapt gathered round the sumac tree –

Two, one.5, one, zero –

Umm… excuse me.. where is our singing hero?

For a few minutes with breath bated,

The animals confounded, Waited,

For the foghorn to blare,

But they could only stare,

Into an empty space,

Where the frog losing all grace,

Every night cacophonously croaked,

PS-don’t ask the feelings he invoked.

The duck in joy proposed a toast,

To the disappearance of the show host…

The toads and turtles danced in delight,

In the beautiful quixotic moonlight…

But blew the ominous bassoon,

Of the sad skeptical loon…

And all stopped in their merry din,

To followed the loon into the frog habitation…

OMG, the frog lay unconscious on the floor!

Creating among the audience a huge furor!

Some old ones tried all herbs and hybrids….

Others went in search of renowned medics….

By dawn they returned With – Hey Presto –

Monsieur Owl and Madame Mephisto,

Who tried with all their mental might,

For two days and three nights,

But the frog wouldn’t wink an eye.

And, didn’t all the animals sigh

When the medics were left speechless

On discovering a disease of such vagueness

Such as a cardio-vocal disorder,

That had affected no-one before, ever,

But the bog, knowing him so well,

Never went into a hysterical spell.

They made up their minds,

And switched on the mental rewind,

And went back into the ancient times,

Whence a dirge was woefully whined.

Seeing crowds in Bingle quagmire

Around a frog on an unlit pyre,

A nightingale in mid-flight stopped,

Landed well and little hopped.

The weeping bog very soon

Briefed her with frog’s misfortune

Of his self-induced, irrevocable coma

Credits to croaks in Terza Rima.

Depressed and swept by emotions in full,

The nightingale recalled Willi the Blulbul,

And broke into a painful poignant dirge,

That made animals in unision surge,

“Every night and every morn,

Some to misery are born,

Every morn and every night,

Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

Such profound effect had the requiem

That before turning into cinerarium

The monster of Frankenstein literally turned,

Of which Mary Shellduck (fortunately) never learnt.

The frog opened one eye big, red

And then the other, anger amid,

He looked at the gaping crowd around,

And then at the nightingale he frowned.

The big dark green folds spoiled

his forehead, and, his head boiled,

“Darest bird I was going to be,

Eighth of the Sapta Rishi,

But your hideous song,

That has plagued this throng,

Disrupted my meditation,

More than a conflagration,

And so I curse thee…”

“O Stop, I pray to thee”

Oh how the nightingale

Yowled, Howled and wailed,

The animals watched aghast,

The frog’s unforeseen blast,

As well as his astounding incongruous theory,

Of reaching the ladder of sanctimonious glory.

But before the animals could open their mouth,

The frog demanded from her clear and loud,

“You nightingale, are you not the twin sister,

Of the one who died after singing so sinister?”

And then changed the nightingale’s mood,

And her tone became bitter and rude,

“Yes, I am that bereaved sister,

And I now see who you really are.”

And in monologue she narrated

How the frog killed her beloved

Hearing this and the frog feint, the whole bog

Wasted no minute, tied the frog and lit the log.



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