Madathil Rajendran Nair

Gold Star - 27,404 Points (3rd December 1946 / Bombay, India)

The Cello That Played Tragic Notes - Poem by Madathil Rajendran Nair

He sat on a granite stone
In the plantain grove
Motionless, unaware
Of the passage of time
Shadows lengthened
And shrank around

He was just about eight
Enamored by a tiny sunbird
Endeavoring at her nest
At the tip of a branch
That hung over the bamboo fence

A vigilant mate helped her
Together they brought
Material for the nest
Feathers, twigs, leaves, cotton wisps
Singing in joy as they passed

He sat like an idol
Unmindful of hunger
Thirst, numbness of limbs
Lest the birds were disturbed
If he moved or even batted his lashes

His parents had to drag him home
For lunch and breakfast
He would rush back to the stone
Gulping just a few mouthfuls
The nest had him swallowed full

The birds finished their build
Their home was done
The boy sat enchanted
Marveling at the avian abode

He couldn’t suppress his joy
With his friends he shared
The secret of his glee
Pointing at the nest
Swaying in the wind
With the lady-bird perched on it
Her long beak busy
Finishing final details

Early next morn
He hurried to the grove
Without even pausing to brush his teeth
His heart broke
The nest was there no more

His friends had slashed the branch
The dream-house of the birds lay
On the ground infested by ants
Beside it was an unbroken egg
Dotted purple all over the shell

The boy broke down in anguish
His cheeks ran down flooded streams
Sat sobbing waiting
For the parent birds to descend
And save their tiny woebegone

It was soon noon and hot
He heard the birds wail aloft
But alas none ventured
Down to nurse the egg on the ground

He picked that hapless egg
Placed it on the red velvet
Of his mom’s old jewel casket
Hoping one day it would hatch
A baby bird would emerge
And coo in a joy upsurge

Days and weeks passed
His dreams shriveled
As the egg dried and shrank
Broke open to expose
Remnants of an unsung song

The boy grew up to be a man
Who carried an unhatched egg
Of pain and song deep in the velvet
Of his bleeding heart
Wandered the world and wept
At wars, calamities, strifes
Wherever humanity stank

Perhaps he was born in an airy sign
Homed by a tearful moon
To carry a throbbing avian heart
Life-long like a high-strung cello
That played only tragic notes
Wail of unborn embryos
Stranded human souls

Topic(s) of this poem: pain


Comments about The Cello That Played Tragic Notes by Madathil Rajendran Nair

  • Tirupathi Chandrupatla (9/27/2015 1:47:00 PM)


    A heart moving story beautifully rendered. Hope people will help the helpless instead of inflicting further harm. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Roop Rekha Bhaskar (9/20/2015 1:46:00 AM)


    Oh so sad. For the boy, the bird, the egg and all.A very absorbing poem, with a lot of values hidden in the nest, the birds, the egg, the boy and his friends. A tender, affectionate hand that holds this pen. Loved it. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/19/2015 5:39:00 AM)


    Wonderful imagery. Though it is tragic, it is so reach in arrangement of collocation. Thrilling one. .....10 (Report) Reply

  • Rajesh Thankappan (9/19/2015 5:22:00 AM)


    A fantastic poem of dreams shelved in the embryo! (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (9/18/2015 11:57:00 PM)


    A wonderful poem! The beginning of it was nothing exceptional.... like any other good poem! But the end was so captivating! From the point of the boy keeping the egg in his mother's jewel casket, it takes a different turn! This philosophic and psychological dimension given to the poem has made it an outstanding write! Top marks! When you have time, you may read my poem of a similar story- An Epilogue to A Prologue! (Report) Reply

  • Mark Heathcote (9/18/2015 4:52:00 PM)


    A good read, nicely written, thanks for sharing it. (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (9/18/2015 4:22:00 PM)


    A tragic but very well written poem! (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 18, 2015



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