ARISE, AWAKE AND SHINE  

 

Sshhh!! Little baby bird sshhh!!

You mustn’t make a noise

No! No! Don’t you let out your voice!

 

Here they come with their spades and axes,

To butcher down our homes.

See . . . the rampage has started . . .

 

Look at the corner afar . . .

There is Mother Mynah struggling to give flight to her babies,

Before the final axe strikes the foundation of her humble home!

Look at Uncle Squirrel scurrying to get his nuts out of the burrow,

In time to save his sweat and toil!

 

My heart goes out to our Creator,

Who created this pristine creation for mankind to dress and to cherish,

What a sight for Him to behold!

 

Oh! Little baby bird you are yet to see the earth . . .

Alas! I cannot promise to show you the lush greenery

I cannot promise to give you a whiff of the fresh air,

I cannot promise you the cool breeze and the clear waters,

I cannot promise you a view from atop the tall oak tree,

But, I sure can perch you on that lofty skyscraper you can see.

Oh! Little baby bird, the rivers are full of sewage

The lanes and by-lanes are stinky with heaps of rotting garbage around,

The air weighs heavy with pollutants galore,

The groundwater is scarce with no rains to fill the store,

Arsenic, Fluoride, nitrates and chlorides seep into the ground,

Where will you find clean water to drink, baby bird, where on earth will you find?

Cleanliness starts from home, baby bird

Keep in heart these golden words.

If your little nest is clean, you will want to keep your community clean,

If your community is clean, you will want to keep your country clean,

If your country is clean, you will want to keep the whole earth clean.

 

They cut down our homes, baby bird and build huge empires in their places

Does it then not give them the onus to keep their kingdom clean?

 

Who will inherit that kingdom baby bird?

Neither you nor me . . .

It is their children who will have a story to tell,

And, their grandchildren a song to sing.

 

Oh! When you gain the strength to soar high baby bird,

I will show you the sad picture from above,

Of infections, allergies and sores,

Of gangrene, pus and blood . . .

 

Lakhs of rupees they spend in treatment,

A miniscule of resources to maintain hygiene they don’t.

 

It’s still not late for them, baby bird

To arise awake and shine,

To reduce reuse and recycle,

To build shield and wield,

A community clean –

A world pristine –

And an earth divine.

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