About a Bear

by. Dr Rudhramoorthy Cheran

I told my son the tale

of a bear that arrived one morning,

an uninvited guest,

to drink tea with us.

A big fellow

with black spots mixed into

a white coat.

He walked up,

friendly, affable, surrounded

by flowers of gentleness.

His stride scarcely dislodged

even the breeze.

Sparrows and ring-necked doves

took one look and burst into laughter,

honey bees went into exile.

“Well, do I get any tea?” asked the bear.

What a question!

Just what we’re waiting for,

my son told him.

Scorching hot tea, wasn’t it?

We had to drink it slowly, slowly.

“What a miracle, water becoming tea,”

the bear laughed.

A gale arose from that laughter,

cooling our tea.

In one gulp, the bear

finished his tea and said

with a sigh,

“All that is left in my cup

is emptiness. What

shall we do with it?”

Leaving the question to squat

between us, like a stone,

the bear retreated

into its forest.

I asked my three-year-old son,

“What shall we do

with emptiness?”

“Leave it under a rock, Appa,”

the boy said.