Zafar Futehally, 190320 -110813

Here’s an email from Shyamal:

In 1961 the famous poet Nissim Ezekiel dedicated a poem to Padma Shri Zafar
Futehally. It was published in the third issue of the first year of the
Newsletter for Birdwatchers. The spelling used is “casurina” and the
inclusion of this poem in the Newsletter was apparently much disapproved of
by Salim Ali !

== Paradise Flycatcher ==

White streamers moving briskly on the green
Casurina, rouse the sleepy watcher
From his dream of rarest birds
To this reality. A grating sound
Is all his language, spelling death
To flies and moths among the leaves
Why go this way to Paradise.
But he, in mask of black, with tints of green,
Is legend come alive to the dreamer
Whose eyes are fixed on him in glad surprise.

So many years ago, his predecessor
Came-it was an afternoon like this-
And clung with shaking streamers
To the same casurina, catching flies:
But Fate that day, and not the dreamer,
Fixed his eyes on him and shot him down.
He lay with red and red upon his white,
Uncommon bird no longer, in the mud.
The live one flashes at the watcher
Chestnut wings: the dead is buried in his mind.

– Nissim Ezekiel (1961)

Zafar Saheb, may your sould rest in peace.


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