POETS CORNER: Chameleon

31st Oct 2014

Have I considered the chameleon?

Sometimes a fresh, incandescent green
Blending into sun-dappled leaves
Sometimes a murky, dull brown
Half-buried in the forest ground

Of what relevance is this mere lizard to my life?
Its ways are bestial; I’m human and far more civilised!
A chameleon is a creature of instinct – no mind and soul
I have a spirit that achieves and grows

And yet, is not the chameleon’s genius for deception
Almost human in conception?
Its power and desire to adapt and blend in
Akin to my assimilating to fit in?

Are we so different, the chameleon and I?
Yes I may be a mammal, he a reptile
But a deeper look reveals
We are but twins of duplicity and deceit

As I conform and connive my way in society,
Have I any more courage than a lizard, any more integrity?
Doesn’t even the chameleon’s camouflage pale

Before my changing colours, varying shades?

In a world of materialism and vanity
I have managed to fit in perfectly
I’ve sold my soul, hijab, identity
For a cheap veneer of skinnies and superficiality

By nature, the chameleon is shifty in shade and hue
Yet I am human! My essence reproaches me to be true
‘Break free of conformity and artifice!’ it cries
I hang my head, whisper my cowardly reply –

‘But it’s so much easier living a lizard’s lie!’

Fatema Valji

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