Kids Corner: Poems by Nishka Banerjee, Anika Nigam. Story: Nikita Banerjee

A night in black satin

When the night awakens
After the sun sets,
The moon lights up the city,
But not for long…
As the night arrives,
Her wicked laughter echoes,
Deep inside your ears.
She dispatches black dreams to all,
Gruesome ones,
You wouldn’t want to have one.

She dons her black, silken dress,
That hides the twinkling stars,
As long as the sun is away,
She steals your possessions,
With a piercing shriek,
You wouldn’t want to hear one.

The faded posters peeling off the lampposts,
Shout out dated news.
A quaint restaurant beckons you for tea.
Pale lights from dinghy buildings,
Fall and scatter to the ground.
Autumn leaves gently float away from trees,
Landing lightly on their toes.

Newspapers shuffle in the howling wind,
Along dark, endless alleyways.
Lost forever,
in a London city night.
Nishka Banerjee
(Manchester, U.K.)

–0–

Heaven Is Her New Home

My home was her home for 3 years,
Whenever I saw her, a love heart appeared.
I’d go out and open her coop door every morning,
Oh, it never ever got boring.
The softness of her feathers, charmed my fingers,
It made me feel warm, on all these winters.
I thought she could pull out a fourth year,
But something crept in, something like fear.
I saw her getting weaker, it broke my heart,
I could feel us slowly drifting apart.
Days and days go by,
All I could do was cry.
Begging my parents, “She needs to go to the vet!”
I loved her, for she was my pet.
I knew she wasn’t going to improve,
She was loosing her groove.
After days of begging, the parents finally agreed,
We drove to the vet, at great speed.
She stood on the table, frail and weak,
If only it was a miracle, she could seek.
The news finally came, “she needs to stay overnight.”
I agreed, with a kiss and a hug so tight.
I said my last prayers for my little Lavender,
The night only got blander and blander.
I jump out of bed in the morning, hoping for good news,
Only to see my dad, his heart bruised.
It only took two words to make me burst out crying,
“Bad news,” if only he was lying.
Imagining Lavenders last breath, as death flashed before her eyes,
It was cancer, that filled my eyes.
Where would she go now, where is her home,
I heard a whisper, heaven is her new home.

Anika Nigam
Melbourne
(Australia)
–0–

Nature’s Gifts

He can’t get away. He’s my last hope. I’m running as fast as I can. This deer isn’t just for me. It’s for my cubs and I will do anything for my cubs. He’s slowing down. I speed up to take advantage of his fatigue. I’m inches away. And I jump. I did it. He is dead. Another successful chase.

I am a Bengal tigress, a predator; strong, vibrant, thriving and intimidating. I’m also a mother, nurturing and caring. I travel on my own with my cubs, roaming the area. Nature providing my needs for food and water as I provide theirs. My life is perfect. I have everything I need.

I sometimes hear noises. Distance noises. Distant but loud noises. I wonder what they are. Who is there? I soon forget about it. But it has started to happen more often. Mostly at night. I hug my cubs close, protecting them. Loving them. The sounds make me uncomfortable; a feeling I hate.

It’s been another long day and after a family meal, I bring my cubs to go to sleep. I lie down and they jump on top of me. Sliding down my back, playing with my tail and ears. It tickles and I laugh. I then pull them close until the last one has drifted off to sleep. I can hear their soft breathing. It soothes me to sleep.

I wake up with a start. It’s still dark but I can hear the noises again. Closer than before. Something’s not right. Am I still dreaming? No, I’m not. I can see people coming. Why are they getting so close? My motherly instinct kicks in. I leave my cubs behind some tall grass and sprint. I need to distract the people. They could harm my cubs. My babies. It’s working. The men are chasing me but, this still confuses me. I’m the predator, not the prey. Why am I running? Why are they chasing me? Why are they even here? For the first time, I feel scared. Vulnerable. Frightened for my life. This isn’t natural for me.

I’m slowing down. They are speeding up to take advantage of my fatigue. They are only meters away. I hear the same dreadful sound again. Really close. 100x louder. I feel it. A sharp pain in my hind. Spreading up my back to my head. An indescribable pain. I fall to the ground, losing sensation in my body. The world around me goes black. My first unsuccessful chase.

I wake up, slowly. I feel numb. Every part of my body feels heavy. I try to get up, but my legs aren’t ready, and I fall to the ground. I turn my head to look at the space around me. Where am I? I’m in a cage. Enclosed. Confined.

My first thought is my cubs. Where are they? I shakily get up. I don’t see them anywhere. I start to panic. I limp over to the bars and look out. They aren’t there. My heart sinks. My little cubs are on their own. Abandoned. They need me.

I feel an instant burst of anger. I’m angry at my kidnappers. I growl and charge at the bars, wanting to break free and destroy them. Nothing happens. I’ve lost all my strength and power. I see the men outside approach my enclosure. They grab the bars and shake them aggressively. This startles me and I back down. I lay down again and close my eyes. What else can I do?

After what seems like hours, I hear the bars open and something is thrown in. I’m ready to sprint out but by the time I get up, they are closed again. I look back at what was thrown. It is meat. I am very hungry but, I’m not going to eat their food. I hunt for my own food. Eventually, hunger gets the better of me and I find myself slowly crawling towards it. I look at it in disgust but try to eat it anyway. It tastes of nothing. Not like the fresh meat I used to catch. I can’t eat without my children. Without seeing them eat first. My heart breaks as I wonder if I will ever see them again.
I feel sad and miss my free days. The fresh breeze in my fur. The grass tickling my paws. The cubs running around my legs. The sun beaming down on me.

They have started taking me out every day. At first, I used to resist and run to get away from their ropes holding me back, but it never worked. They used whips on me. It would sting. There is no point in taking the pain when my attempts are not helping. So, I don’t fight them anymore.
When they take me out, I see other tigers and tigresses. All looking lost and defeated.

As time has passed, I too have given up all hope. I don’t live the life I was meant to live, anymore. But I often ask myself: What right do the Humans have to take my spirit, my happiness and my cubs away?
These were all my gifts from nature.
And only nature has the right to take them back from me.

Nikita Banerjee
Manchester (U.K.)