Part 12

The moon is different. She knows
that molten mother-of-pearl is on
loan till dawn. She lies awake, she
paces the sky, she does not smile,
she wears the borrowed radiance
like an ice-cold shroud. But in that

dishonest moonlight, ask the koel
how she sleeps so well— knowing
she was abandoned in a stranger’s
nest when still an egg, knowing that
crow was not her mother, knowing she
was different from her brother, from

her sister, knowing she holds a
different song in her breast. Knowing
she too will succumb when her time
comes. Have you ever heard the
moon refuse the light? Oh, but she
shrinks, she tries! Ask the koel how

she sleeps — how she wakes up and
sings so well, how she wakes up,
refused twice, broken twice, how
she wakes up, her red eyes still
bright, her sweet voice still true,
singing so eager, so joyful, so well.

Ask the moon to turn away. This will
get ugly, there will soon be a price.

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45 thoughts on “Part 12

  1. Makes a person wonder, we humans aren’t the only ones with situations like this. Our blackbird is very common here in southeast Texas, may be similar to your koel, I don’t think we have them here. They will come into a lawn with hundreds at a time, looking for food in the grass, like worms and seeds. Shopping center parking lots also.
    I’m glad you are writing. I had, still have three books in mind and started one. That one was like the Willie Nelson song, all the ‘girls’ in my life and how they changed it. It would be one of my memoirs. Another is a historical fiction.
    ..

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    1. My kids, I have five, think I should tell my story, I’ve had a very interesting life to those who know me. Growing up, Army, NASA, race cars, my studies, marriages (2), a borderline young adult, and on some more.
      ..

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      1. I agree with your kids! I’m sure you have fascinating stories from all those parts of your life, plus all the travel! I can tell you that doing it like this, on a blog, instead of trying to write it all at one stretch, alone, is probably more challenging but much more fun. So yes, do get started!

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  2. I love your light on the moon and can’t help but feel the diffferent-ness and borrowed light in me and the joy of The koel. The closing is intriguing and maybe leads into the next part?

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  3. Purity is a state reserved for other, past centuries — fleeting, dishonest moonlight is now our norm, damaged, filtered, fragmentary at best. Your koel understands this, even comes to thrive (sing) in that element. Stolen, fostered, ill-suited for crow’s work, s/he preens in the moonlight and sings. Like poets of this century … This is a damaged scroll for the future, proclaiming, this is what it was like to master the world to death.

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  4. I feel for that bird who didnt belong………this is a beauty of a poem, Rajani. With ominous closing lines that echo where the world is now.

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  5. It’s interesting to me how both the moon and the koel know that they have been given something that is not naturally theirs, but how different their reactions are. Feigned ignorance can’t be bliss for too long, I think. And as you point out, undeniable confrontation of truth can be world shattering.

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  6. Here I am, Rajani, finally, feelingt he themes of short-term loans, of abandonment, of beauty, of survival . . . until maybe something ends. I’d better wind back through this website and read “Story” from the beginning!

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  7. Do real crows foster songbirds? It’s not common, but there are some cases of birds rearing young of other species in their own nest (other than in “nest parasitism”). Red-tailed hawks don’t normally eat other birds unless they are ill; the ones who do don’t get better. Nevertheless many sick hawks have eaten free-range chickens. But there are also cases where a hawk carried a chicken back to its nest and, apparently, nobody was sick enough to eat it, so the hawk family reared the chicken as a sort of pet. The songbird growing up in a crow family is an interesting folktale image, anyway…has it ever happened in the real world?

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