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Nature: Perennial Source in Book of Verse of Ruskin Bond

 


Dr. Shri Kant Kulshrestha

Asst. Teacher in P.S. Nagla

Paima, Barauli Aheer, Agra

Basic Edu. Deptt., Agra,

Uttar Pradesh, India

Abstract:

Nature has always been a worldwide subject of studies in which Ruskin Bond has penned most of his works for the preservation and protection of Nature; his works connote and replete his grave concerned for flora and fauna. Moreover, his poetic genius has made great furor among the readers for the ecological balance; it appears that all his poems about nature, environment and its natural objects are innocuous, prudent, lucid and worth imbibing.

Key words: Nature, Preservation, Protection, Ecological balance, Environment and Innocuous

Ruskin Bond has been writing for over sixty years, and now has over 120 titles in print-novels, collection of short stories, poetry, essays, anthologies and books for children. His first novel The Room on the Roof, received the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Award in 1957. He has also received the Padma Shri (1999), Padma Bhushan (2014) and two awards for his writings for children. In 2012, the Delhi Government gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Born on 19th May, 1934, Ruskin Bond grew up in Jamnagar, Shimla, New Delhi and Dehradun. Apart from three years in United Kingdom (U.K.), he has spent all his life in India, and now lives in Mussoorie with his adopted family from where he has been constantly penning his master pieces for the welfare and preservation of Nature and its natural objects.

Nature has always been a worldwide subject of studies in which Ruskin Bond has penned most of his works for the preservation and protection of Nature; his works connote and replete his grave concerned for flora and fauna. Moreover, his poetic genius has made great furor among the readers for the ecological balance; it appears that all his poems about nature, environment and its natural objects are innocuous, prudent, lucid and worth imbibing. Moreover, Nature forms one of the most prodigious and recurrent themes in his poetry as each one depicts his utmost concern for nature. The seed of this extreme love for Nature has been grown up since his childhood when he was dwelling in Dehra along with his father; he has come in close and meticulous association with external objects of Nature since then. In his passionate and jovial love for Nature, he has displayed great affinity like William Wordsworth, the priest on Nature but Ruskin’s poetry is devoid of mysticism. His poems on Nature are very brief, concise, simple and engrossing and having song like traits and qualities.

As a Nature poet, he is especially attracted by the discordant colours of myriads surroundings of Nature either forests, trees, grass or sky, clouds, rivers and mountains. His poem Look for Colours of life, particularly appeals most to the malleable heart of children, as they are new in life and everything; it is indispensable to make them realize that life around them is beautiful, charming and promising; they contribute their best towards keeping this planet free from pollution and contamination.

                        Colours are everywhere;

                        Bright blue the sky;

                        Dark green the forest;

                        And light the fresh grass;

                        Bright yellow the lights.

                                                            Look for Colours of Life

Ruskin Bond is conceited enough as he wishes to enjoy his whole life with Nature. Therefore, he writes in Rain in the Mountain, “Yes, I’d love to have a garden of my own- spacious, and full of everything that is fragrant and flowering. But if I don’t succeed, never mind – I have still got the dream.” Thus, garden at Dehra has become the epitome in his concise poem- There Are In My Garden-

                        There are in my garden

                        the burn bronze petals

                        of shattered marigolds

                        speaks of golden rods

                        blending to the load

                        of pillaging bee

                        two armored lizards

                        a map butterfly.

                                                There Are In My Garden.

In the description of trees, he is par excellence as there is a close affinity is found between the poems of Ruskin and Toru Dutt, a great Anglo- Indian poet. To Toru, trees are just happened to be Indian- the trees she loves. The same may be penned about Ruskin Bond as he has meticulously depicted all beautiful Indian trees which have contributed a vital part of his life. He has jotted some notable poems on trees like- The Cherry Tree, An Island of Trees, Banyan Tree, Walnut Tree and My Cherry Tree.

In The Cherry Tree, which is also one of his favourite poems conveys that the cherry tree is a symbol of survival and it escapes almost eaten by a goat and being cut with the grass. Just as human beings struggle in life so too does the cherry tree. But the cherry tree displays its great resilience and the ability to withstand adversities. He writes in The Cherry Tree-

                        Eight years have passed

                        Since I placed my cherry seed in the grass.

                        “Must have a tree of my own,’’ I said,

                        And watered it once and went to bed

                        And forgot; but cherries have a way of growing.

                                                                                    The Cherry Tree

In another poem Walnut Tree, he points out that it is a queer and strange tree. When it loses its leaves, the fruits are ripened. It proves the rule of Nature that if it loses something, on the other hand it gives important things also. As the walnut gives up its skin, the hard nut comes up.

                        The walnut tree is the first to lose its leaves,

                        But at the same time the fruit ripens,

                        The skin splits, the hard shell of the nut stand revealed.

                                                                                                Walnut Tree

He has also provided an erudite message through his lovely poem Dandelian where writes that he is extremely disgusted to hear from the people that dandelion flower is a weed. He considers it as an insult on the part of the flower. He warns them and expresses that it is divine flower-

                        I think it’s an insult

                        To the Nature’s generosity

                        That many call this cheerful flower

                        A ‘common weed’.

                        How dare they so degrade

                        A flower divinely made!

                        Sublimely does it bloom and seed

                        In sunshine or in shade.

                                                                                    Dandelion.

His astonishing portrayal of raindrops are worth commending as he has jotted down in his poem- Raindrop

                        This leaf, so complete in itself,

                        Is only a part of a tree.

                        And this tree, so complete in itself,

                        Is only part of the mountain.

                        And the mountain runs down to the sea.

                        And the sea, so complete in itself,

                        Rests like a raindrop

                        On the hand of God.

                                                            Raindrop

For small creature and animals, he has composed some worth messaging poems such as- Lone Fox Dancing, The Bat, The Owl, The Snake, Butterfly Time and A Bedbug Gives Thanks etc.

In Lone Fox Dancing, he displays his deep attraction and fascination towards the fox and compares himself like a lone fox who wanders for the pleasures of Nature in the early mornings of Dehra.

                        As I walked home last night

                        I saw a lone fox dancing

                        In the cold moonlight.

                                                            Lone Fox Dancing

In another poem, A Frog Screams, he displays his inner most love and deep sympathy for a frog that is caught by a snake-

                        I heard a sound like the creaking

                        Of a branch in the wind

                        It was a frog screaming

                        In the jaws of a long green snake.

                                                                        A Frog Screams

He beautifully picturizes the appropriate divinely role of the owl that summarizes the night is good and sound for sweet sleep.

                        Then owls must hoot

                        They have the right.

                        On me it casts no spell:

                        Rather, it seems cry,

                        The night is good- all’s well, all’s well.

                                                                                    The Owl

The beautiful and charming description of an innocent creature the bat is highly praiseworthy and laudable as he has explained in his poem The Bat that he knows one bat whom he has developed the distant relationship as regularly visits him during his lonely nights and provides him interesting as well as entertaining company. Moreover, it may be considered that hardly any human being gives the company during the restless nights and that is the generosity of the creature that it comforts him and neither demands anything nor complains. Thus, animals are better than humans because they are not selfish and provide unconditional love and affection which fills the life with godlike bliss and wipe out the stress from the hustle- bustle of life.

                        He appeals to the paradox in me.

                        And when sometimes

                        He settles upside down

                        At the foot of my bed,

                        I let him be.

                        On lonely nights, even a crazy bat

                        Is company.

                                                                                    The Bat

In another spell bounded poem of his, So Beautiful the Night, he depicts the significant role of night as during this time the natural objects such as trees and all human beings take rest to make them rejuvenate themselves for another day. He wishes from the Almighty to see the armies of trees like- Pines, Firs, and Oaks to walk on the mountains during moonlight.

                        The trees are stretching their arms in the dark

                        and whispering to the moon.

                        But if the trees could walk, Lord,

                        What a wonderful sight it would be-

                        Armies of pines and firs and oaks

                        Marching over the moonlit mountains.

                                                                                    So Beautiful the Night

In his poem Silent Birth, he has explained the milky heart, endurance, sufferance and silence of a small seed when it gives birth to the plant. Here, he beautifully touches the core part between nature and human. The seed displays its agony and suffering as it sacrifices itself to provide a new life in the world. He unfolds the two worlds- the Eco world and the world of humans. He considers the Eco world as the affirmative and human world as negative one. He compares the earth and human that both give birth but the objects of Nature gives birth mutely and silently like the plants give birth to the buds and transforms into a charming flower and flowers turn into the fruits without any agony whereas humans make noises while producing child and are surrounded by many people.

                        When the earth gave birth to this tree,

                        There came no sound:

                        A green shoot thrust

                        In silence from the ground.

                        Our births don’t come so quiet-

                        Most lives run riot-

                        But the bud opens silently,

                        And flower gives way to fruit.

                                                                        Silent Birth

In another poem the picturization and comradeship with firefly is astonishing and worth observing. In the poem Firefly in My Room, he talks about that firefly which arrives in his room when he lays down sleeplessly. Thus, an uninvited friend firefly appears in his lonely room which refreshes him up to great extent. He points out the importance of its friendly presence that removes all his tiredness and grief of whole day. In this way Nature plays a prominent role in soothing the person during his grieved period.

                        Last night, as I lay sleepless

                        In the summer dark

                        With window open to invite a breeze,

                        Softly a firefly flew in

                        And circled round the room

                        Twinkling at me from floor or wall

                        Or ceiling, never long in one place

                        But lighting up little spaces….

                        A friendly presence, dispelling

                        The settled gloom of an unhappy day.

                                                                        Firefly in My Room

                                                                       

The poem Once You Have Lived with Mountain, he expresses that there is an enchanting effect of Nature because if a person pays the visit to the mountain, there he finds eternal bliss of unique trees like- deodars, and the milky atmosphere makes him rejuvenate throughout his life as he realizes it when he comes down the plain and wishes to go there once more to attain the divinely ecstasy of mountains.

                        Once you have lived with these,

                        Blessed, God’s favourite then,

                        You will return,

                        You will come back

                        To touch the trees and grass

                        And climb once more the windswept mountain pass.

                                                            Once You Have Lived with Mountain

In the poem The Whistling Schoolboy, the poet exposes the religious sentiments and beliefs of the people about the birds and animals; these play a vital role in Hindu mythology as in it there is a young boy who whistles near by sea in Kochi; one day Lord Krishna was sleeping and he stole the flute of Him and starts playing as Krishna plays but he fails. Thus, Lord Krishna becomes angry with him and turns him into a bird; therefore, that boy now sings like the whistling thrush.

                        He was a whistling schoolboy once,

                        Who heard god Krishna’s flute,

                        And tried to play the same sweet tune,

                        but touched by a faulty note.

                        Said Krishna to the errant youth-

                        A bird you must become,

                        And you shall whistle all your days

                        Until your song is done.

                                                                        The Whistling Schoolboy

In another ecological poem Tigers Forever, he prays to the Almighty to have a number of tigers in forests, roaring, hunting and leaping; he also prays for their security and safety as they are very much essential for the earth because they balance the rest of the ecology. Still, he wishes that there may not be the excessive growth of the tigers by which they may start swallowing the humans.

                        May there always be tigers, Lord.

                        In the jungles and tall grass

                        May the tiger’s roar be heard,

                        May his thunder

                        Be known in the land.

                        …………………………………….

                        …………………………………….

                        But not so many that one of them

                        Might be tempted to come into my bedroom

                        In search of a meal!

                                                                                    Tigers Forever

In his poem,  Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, he expresses his utmost love for the little child and advises him not to afraid from the darkness as it is an appropriate and apt time for our motherland to take sound rest. Moreover, he also asks him to make most of the use of moonlight because it does not fade away at night. This is the time when calmness and serenity prevail in the whole world.  

                        Don’t be afraid of the dark, little one,

                        The earth must rest when the day is done.

                        The sun may be harsh, but moonlight- never!

                        And those stars will be shining forever and ever,

                        Be friends with the Night, there is nothing to fear,

                        Just let your thoughts travel to friends far and near.

                        By day, it does seem that our troubles won’t cease,

                        But at night, late at night, the world is at peace.

                                                                        Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Ruskin’s innate quality is exhibited from the myriad sources of Nature. In this poem Night thoughts, he regards the mountain as his mother and considers the vast sea as his father because these natural objects are the perennial source of inspiration and motivation for him. He reveals the secret truth that the rivers which flow from the high mountains never plays the melancholic music to him instead they provide him the eternal bliss of life.

                        This mountain is my mother,

                        My father is the sea,

                        This river is the fountain

                        Of all that life may be……..

                        ………………………………………

                        ………………………………………

                        Play no sad songs for me,

                        The day has gone, sweet night comes on,

                        Its darkness helps me see.

                                                                                    Night Thoughts

 

Thus, it is encapsulated by his above-mentioned anthologies that Ruskin Bond has unique, unparalleled, unbreakable and everlasting bonding with Nature and its myriads natural objects. His passionate love, affection and fascination towards them all is worth mentioning and imbibing for the protection and preservation of flora and fauna. Moreover, people must display their utmost reverence and respect towards the discordant natural objects which have deep rooted religious significance too.

Works Cited

Bond, Ruskin. Look For Colours Of Life, a poem from A Little Night Music: Rupa and Company, New Delhi, 2004. Print.

Bond, Ruskin. There Are In My Garden, a poem from Rain In The Mountain: Penguin Books Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1993. Print.

Bond, Ruskin. Book of Verse: Penguin Books Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2007. Print.