I remember the first English poem that we had to learn in school in India. A lot of the poems I learned were translated into Bengali because my medium of study was Bengali.
Mostly the English poems were to be recited word by word in front of guests that came for dinner to show and to prove the productivity and superiority of the family over the visiting family. Such was the norm.
I remember my first poem where Jack and Jill went up of the hill to fetch a pail of water; Jack fell down and….and that is it now 35 years later, I ask what happened to Jack?
Did Jill reject Jack because he did not succeed in fetching her a bucket of water? As an adult now, the temptation is to think of that pail of water as a metaphor for something entirely different from water itself. A man is not a man unless he fulfills a woman’s desire for a pail of water. Water, as in wealth? As in physical satisfaction and intimacy?
And then there was this poem: Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder how you are. Did you know stars do not really twinkle, and most of us know that stars are just suns in a far off space. Their light takes millions of years to reach us. Light emitted by stars has to, like life, travel through different density. All said and done, the light reaches the destination.
The sun during the day helps us lead a life in reality and stars at night make us reflect on the twinkle that is our life. One or two twinkles, and it’s all over. And then, the blackness and the void.
(Amarjit Sidhu, Photo Editor of Al Arabiya English, is a licensed commercial pilot, a poet, and a photographer whose works have been exhibited in many countries. Can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)