Treasure Island

Daniel Trevelyn Joseph

(21 December 1945 / Mumbai, India)

Rain-tree


Rain-tree

The rain-tree is of cassia family -
Like an elephant it stands on the road, clothed
With thick green foliage, dark against the sky
All along the Bandra-Kurla road in Mumbai.

You have to exert a little and see
Over the top to see the nazuna-type
Of pink flowers sitting above the foliage
In plentiful numbers, with up-thrust pink hairs.

Unlike the African tulip in front of ONGC
At Bandra Flyover visible from the distance,
Here the pink and green does not show off
As rain-tree flowers don’t advertise themselves.

Unlike copper-pod’s bright yellow flowers
The rain tree flowers don’t weave a carpet:
I’ve never seen the flowers on the ground below
Nor do they wither on the tree, how I wonder!

In monsoon rains, the leaves shine specially,
Transparent drops falling on walkers below,
Or with a thud on the racing car bonnets too,
Some choose to fall on road to rise a bit upwards.

I have not understood why it is called rain-tree:
Are they attracted, peacock-like, to the rain-clouds,
Or does the rain-bird which drinks water straight from heavens
Prefer this tree, and inspire Kalidasa to write Meghdoot?

Submitted: Sunday, June 08, 2008

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