Zafar Futehally, 190320 -110813

August 13, 2013

Here’s an email from Shyamal:

In 1961 the famous poet Nissim Ezekiel dedicated a poem to Padma Shri Zafar Futehally. It was published in the third issue of the first year of the Newsletter for Birdwatchers. The spelling used is “casurina” and the inclusion of this poem in the Newsletter was apparently much disapproved of by Salim Ali !

== Paradise Flycatcher ==

White streamers moving briskly on the green Casurina, rouse the sleepy watcher From his dream of rarest birds To this reality. A grating sound Is all his language, spelling death To flies and moths among the leaves Why go this way to Paradise. But he, in mask of black, with tints of green, Is legend come alive to the dreamer Whose eyes are fixed on him in glad surprise.

So many years ago, his predecessor Came-it was an afternoon like this- And clung with shaking streamers To the same casurina, catching flies: But Fate that day, and not the dreamer, Fixed his eyes on him and shot him down. He lay with red and red upon his white, Uncommon bird no longer, in the mud. The live one flashes at the watcher Chestnut wings: the dead is buried in his mind.

  • Nissim Ezekiel (1961)

Zafar Saheb, may your sould rest in peace.