Motibil is its name
It is big and deep
Cackling ducks drift along
Along its muddy verge
Herons stand gazing on
Kites fly above in the sky
Below kingfishers suddenly dive.
Here and there lands rise
They are covered with grass
In some places run winding streams
There are paddy fields too
In water half-submerged
In the sun how lovely they look!
The ploughman reaps his crops
In the evening he goes back home
With his buffalos the cowboy swims
And crosses the stream
The fisherman catches fish with nets
Tied to bamboo frames.
The clouds go gliding in the sky
The weeds go floating along the stream.
Translation of the children's poem Motibil from the collection Chitra by Rabindranath Tagore. A unique feature of the landscape of the alluvial Bengal is the existence of a large number of bils or marshy areas. Lower Bengal was created out of the Bay of Bengal entirely by the great river systems of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra with their huge quantity of silt deposited over a very long time. In this process many areas remained unfilled and thus these bils with unique ecology were born. While managing his ancestral zamindari in North Bengal Tagore found many such bils. His description of
a bil in this short lovely poem written for children is perhaps the best.