Theme: Despair

The Greatest Toxin

(Based on Tolstoy’s “The Imp and the Crust”)

A poor but happy farmer on the field,
Found she had lost her crust of bread,
But she begrudged it not, thinking
“It was stolen by someone with more need.”
The evil imp who had stolen the crust,
With the devil he had conspired,
“Her crust stolen, she’ll be angry”
He thought, but oh what transpired!
The imp was angry; he had lost
To the innocent goodness of the farmer,
Provoked and needing vengeance,
He made some new plans to conquer.
First, he thought he’d conquer her generosity,
By making her rich and others poor,
But she didn’t give in to ebbing greed,
And once again the imp was sour.
Then he tried he would win her with addictions,
Making her weak, aggressive, dependent,
But she checked her character, letting no elixir,
Be more important than a friend.
Once again, the imp lay despondent,
His scheming had been for nought.
“Her good sense” he thought, “would not let evil
Overcome her at any cost.”
Then the imp witnessed a miracle,
He observed hiding behind a well,
As the girl, met a youth and blushed,
And swiftly in love, she fell.
The affair was to be clandestine, at first,
And so she hid from family and friends,
Who when they found she had hidden,
Felt hurt and distanced from then.
Then she had her patience tested,
As her love defied virtues she loved.
When she protested, her sanity was questioned,
While he ignored or adamantly bellowed.
Closeness gave way to differences,
Hurt and pain lay heavy on her chest,
She had been caught out of her defences,
And was stuck in a losing quest.
The love she sought would never return,
Her life before it was a history,
Self-loathing consumed her virtues,
As she became her own enemy.
The imp laughed at his foolishness,
“I wasted time in complicated scheming,
When love, loss and all its pain,
Were clearly the greatest toxin."


More By  :  Aditi Misra

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