Two Scarecrows – Story-Poem


Two scarecrows -Part 1

A couple
Manning two sides of the field
Coming together only for repairs
So well crafted that even humans
Got deceived leave alone birds

Then one day the farmer
Held a ritualistic prayer
For bumper crop invoking
Nature earth and gods
Chants twanged the air

A hermit who was passing by
On yearly pilgrimage to holy
City of Varanasi for dip in
River Ganges heard the chants
And his spirit became euphoric

In a trance he blessed the whole
Area, field, crop, everything in it
Along with  farmer, his guests, the
Diligently chanting  priests, when all of
Sudden the scarecrow couple came alive~
Part II

Rani and Raja the two live scarecrows
gravitated towards one another instinctively
Having come together briefly during repairs
Their hands automatically clasped each other’s
As together they could face the unknown bravely

The sum total of their ken was a world of bird Calls,
bees, dragonflies, cicadas and occasional deer
wild boar, tiger and odd camels, goats, cows
Human contact had been farmer, and his kinfolk
And during harvest time, the roving gypsy labor

Full of perturbation, they decided to follow footsteps
Of the hermit that were still fresh in the pathways
And let destiny decide their fate. Staying back at
the Farm never occured to them and they quickly hastened
Into the dense jungle in the travelling hermit’s wake

Gypsy leader was handsome but one mean hombre
And usually after generously embibing country liquor
Formented many quarrels and skirmishes wherever
They’d halted to earn daily wages as farm labor, sadly
Due to his looks, a few ladies tolerated his wickedness

In the past, the hermit’s and gypsy leader Raka’s paths
Had crossed and even though the ornery Raka had tried
To break the meditative state of the hermit he had been
Unsuccessful which had annoyed him no end, he was the
kind who took apart butterfly wings just for the fun of it

Finally Rani and Raja caught up with the hermit at banks
Of the holy river and fell at his feet in reverence and Said,
“Your holiness, you’ve given us life, we belong to you. Kindly
allow us to look after you.  We are ill equipped to face
this world as all our lives we were inanimate scarecrows”

With calm, impassive demeanor hermit smiled slightly  And said,
“ I have eschewed worldly goods, attachments As I have but
one aim and that is to achieve nirvana”  You Can stay with
me for a while and we’ll decide where you can fit seamlessly
and live peacefully for rest of your lives”

Couple agreed readily taking refuge in nearby charitable
Shelter made available to all pilgrims by city’s rich folk
Their days were spent in listening to divine sermons Of
the hermit the whole week that he was there, thereafter
They journeyed back together towards hermit’s jungle hut

Evil Raka had gained powers by invoking and pleasing spirits
In the cremation grounds and following shamans who’d sold
Their souls to the devil by performing elaborate rituals and
Sacrifices.  He was now fully drunk with power and liquor.
Completing harvest work, the gypsies were returning home

Their village was place of sojourn for few months after harvest
Where they danced, celebrated and held local fairs, rides, told
Fortunes for extra money on the side as work was far between
During the year and they had to fill their coffers for lean times.
Returning gypsies came across  the occupied  hermit’s hut

Raka recalled his frustration about failure to rile the hermit
Or break his concentration and decided to forment trouble
He quickly built a fire nearby and began loud incantations
Trying to invoke evil spirits into bestowing him with boons
He succeeded and swaggeringly he walked towards the hermit

He wanted to turn everything living  in the hermit’s home and
Environs into stone and loudly spat out those fateful words.
The hermit remain untouched but everything else froze along-
With the poor scarecrow couple who’d tasted life barely a year
Or so and even the detached hermit felt twinges of  grief

He had been giving guidance and sermons to the couple
As finally he’d relented, accepting them as disciples as that
Had been their sole desire and the hermit had somehow felt
Responsible for them.  Now they had become statues.  With
Power of his third eye he saw a live embryo in Rani’s womb

It had not been affected by Raka’s curses and he decided
To save the baby.  It was premature but by various holy
Chants and by dint of his powers he was able to safely
Extract the baby and swaddled it in holy ochre sheets,
Crooning lullabies that his mother used to sing to him

Life had turned full circle somehow for the hermit and
He felt that this was god’s way of completing his spiritual
Quest and he decided to return to his own village into the
Arms of his family who were alive and well and would welcome
Him with open arms.  Onus decreed that he raise a good man.

Frozen scarecrow couple
suddenly sported satisfied  smiles~
next morning during meditation, the hermit came to know that
the Gypsy leader Raka had lost his manhood and power of speech
due to divine intervention~

image is from wiki


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