Nov-Dec 2011: Devil's Tree - Poem by k pankajam

Devil's Tree

k pankajam


As a child, my spine got chills
hearing them tell
Yakshi lived on the Palm tree,
took the forms of pretty maidens
enticed men for carnal enjoyment
only to devour them.

These wandering souls
waited under the Pala tree,
especially on Friday nights,
for victims, thirsty for revenge,
hovered around midnight
in white tresses and long open hair.
The fragrance of jasmine
proved their presence.

I became a prisoner of beliefs
scared to venture out after dusk
even to the courtyard
without an elders’ envoy.

Ezhilam Pala, the evergreen tree
with ornamental shades
near the temple
had leaves in whorls of seven,
exciting white scented night blooms,
and long fruits almost touching the ground.

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