Environmentalist M. Yoganathan has brought out a collection of his poems in a book titled Moochukattru

The balloon-seller walked from one vehicle to another at the GP Hospital signal selling her wares when a swanky car pulled over. The driver slid down his window, popped the balloons with a pin and drove off before she could even react. Bus conductor M. Yoganathan was witness to the scene. Back home, he wrote a few lines about the incident in his diary.

“I have long been recording my thoughts as poems in my diary. I thought, why not bring them out in book form? Besides, I could use the money to buy saplings,” says Yoganathan. And so the 42-year-old environmentalist, who has planted thousands of trees in Tamil Nadu, brought out a collection of his poems in a book titled Moochukattru.

Moochukattru is a collection of 60 Haikus, most of them about Nature and conservation. Behind each poem is a story, says Yoganathan. “The book in the result of events and people that touched me during my bus journeys,” he adds. Yoganathan once observed a nest tucked inside a branch of a tree that was just felled in Trichy Road. The inmates of the nest, a bird and her young ones, sat there, unaware that their home was just struck down. “The mother held a worm in her beak. She was still trying to feed her babies,” says Yoganathan. The first poem in the book is about this bird.

The farmer who names his daughter Kaveri after the river that is slowly dying, the woods that fall silent once the wood-cutter arrives, the farmer whose family celebrates Pongal with money from the land they sold off, wide roads that spell death for trees that line them… the poems speak of the state of our environment.

Some of the poems have already been published in magazines such as Ananda Vikatan and have also won prizes. Moochukattru’s highlight are the pencil sketches by freelance designer C. Sathish. The poems are accompanied by the artist’s interpretations. “It is Sathish who gave life to my verses,” says Yoganathan.

Moochukaatru will be released in the city tomorrow by organic farming pioneer Nammazhvar. The event will be held from 4 p.m. onwards at Annamalai Arangam, opposite the Railway Station. Copies priced at Rs. 25 each, will be available at the venue. To know more, call 94430-91398.