Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yellow Strawberries
















One wayward wintery day
with the snow falling in chubby cherries, 
my heart took a sudden fancy
for canary yellow strawberries.
You fool, I said, strawberries are red
as red as blood can be,
pretty sure yellow there are none
not definitely the shade of canary.
But my heart did not listen,
that lubdubing hulk of a stubborn fellow,
it insisted that I try to find
strawberries in canary yellow.

Gloved, suited, coated and booted
racing through a flurry of flakes,
I made my way to the shed outside
home to oddballs and keepsakes.
There on the shelf lay a can of paint
and yellow it was too,
not as yellow as a canary can be
but to humour a fool it would do.

I brushed the strawberry layer on layer
with lemony dollops of yellow,
the more I brushed, the more it turned
an orangey hue of mellow.
I shot at it with a spray gun
a million yellowy speckles,
but red it was and orange it stayed
in solidarity with demony obstacles.
I tried and tried till there was
just a brushful of yellow in the can,
and suddenly I knew what to do,
like a flash in the proverbial pan.

I knew it was there somewhere
plunger, needle et al,
a souvenir of my tetanus shot
way back from an '80s fall.
With the point glistening in the dark
I ruptured the red fruit skin,
and sucked through the needle
a syringeful of red from within.
I drew out red juice from its heart
like a vampire on a full moon night,
I pulled, I drew, I sucked and I pulled
till there remained nothing but white.

With the red gone, the berry so white
thus spake color theory,
orange it will not be, it has to be yellow
a couple of shades afar from canary.
I pierced its heart, yet again
with the needle a menacing bright,
I spurted yellow into the strawberry
an inside-out vampire on a full moon night.
I waited for it to turn a yellowy hue
as the snow piled into the night,
but red it was, pale it turned
and it stayed a lifeless white.

That night the snowflakes swirled and fell
like a million crowds making wanton merries,
and my heart provoked, rebuked and smirked
at my failed hunt for yellow strawberries.
Why, I asked, did it not turn yellow
when I tried and tried so much,
red and yellow make orange I know
but white and yellow should be yellow as such.
You fool, laughed my fat-bottomed heart,
my whim was like the snow,
It lets you walk a million miles
but leaves no trace of where you go.
You think you took just its color
when every drop of red you stole,
but how would a strawberry turn canary
when you robbed it of its soul?

7 comments:

Shivani Gakhar said...

funny... crazy.. and then deep (hehe literally) u vampire poet!

xyz said...

Yeah, so breezy and silly - yet so touching and meaningful - beautiful

Neelam Prabhugaonker Shetye said...

Thanks Shiv and 'xyz' :)

Anonymous said...

Does this poem have something to do with allowing destiny to find oneself, rather than one finding it. Or is it a metaphor for staying true to one's values, to achieve true success, whatever it means?

Hemamalini said...

Wonder if viewing it through yellow-tinted glasses would work :)

Neelam Prabhugaonker Shetye said...

@anon: you can interpret it any way you like :)

@hems: nopes...red and yellow would still make orange... :D

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