Poems - Lakshmisree Banerjee

Time

Is it a cradle

swinging in the void

humming a

lull-a-by to

the ever joyful

the ever crying

baby of life

now awake

now asleep?

Is it a pendulum

between two eternities

ceaselessly ticking

on the listless

glassy face of

old grandfather

on the wall

moving yet

motionless

for centuries?

Or is it a chugging

train

sometimes whistling

sometimes speedily

quiet

but always

beating the

perennial rhythm

of a journey?

Or is it perhaps

the hollow

ghostly skull of

a ravaged home

burnt down

with riotous hate

yet static like

an open mouth

after being throttled

to death on

a blood-stained

page of history?

- 2 –

Or is it the chiming

footsteps

of wavering in

distressed separation

searching for

the lost lover

in a deep dark forest

across the

never ending

prickly path of

seething scents in

simmering flames

hoping to be

quenched with love?

Or is it a green

olive tree

or perhaps a saal

peepul, banyan

or mahua

or trees standing still

with full-grown hibiscus

palash or red oleanders

moving yet not so

as I move on

sitting tight

on my seat

in a running bus?

What is time?

Where is time?

does it flow

in my veins

or down the river?

or is it my

thumping heart-beat

waiting to go

to the other side

to meet my maker?

Moon - Spindles of Singhbhum

Weaving cane baskets

darning rags

making coconut-brooms

sun-drying dung cakes

for stoking half-dead fires

wrapping up crack’d huts

with muddy slime

along denuded roads

is what they know of

as destiny …….

the dented coal-tar

the beaten corn

the wheat in meagre spread-outs

on the margins of highways

compose their lives…….

their nude children

progenies of darkness

kick on the outskirts

away from life, light

or digital development…….

their black burnish’d bodies

marvellous oily statuettes

used for hard sun-burnt labour

picking up firewood

or dry, half-rotten fruits

in deep, pachyderm-infested jungles …….

for back-breaking chores

in devastated fields, farms or homes

for leasing themselves out

to lazy, lascivious males,

owners or husbands

in liquor-stupor.

The moon steadily blinks

on these tired horizons

of Singhbhum or Simlipal

of Bethla or Bamnipal

yarning herstories

on an eternal spindle.

Haria

Haria is not allowed

to cross our threshold

or enter the thirty three million

doors of our gods.

He can hardly combat

deceit.

His dreamy eyes clouded, dark, are

folded and supplicant like

the green, timid under-creeper.

The brooms of cactus-life

help him to clean our dirt with

the breath of a hopeful vigilance

for a simple flash of instant salvation

with a lurking fear of a ruthless eternity

of god knows what,

never leaving his heart.

He sweeps our outside verandahs, porches,

the dusty pathways, the lavatories,

cleans our sullied bins and grimy cesspools,

frittering away his doomed hours

on the dim margins of hope

which never arrives.

Our Brahmin cook with

a noose of a sacred thread

around his neck,

pounds painful thunders on him

driving him away like a street dog.

Peahen Passions

To make my small point

I do not need to flirt with

Your fanned, oversized, ruffled,

Exotically anarchic, coloured feathers

On your empty crown.

My grace talks, walks,

States and remains stable with

My puny, almost invisible top-knot

Riding on a formidable foothold

Of regal infinitude.

The sense-blurring beauty

Of corn-strewn, dusty tracks,

The green aesthetics of

The torn foliage and mud around me

Make my statement.

The muffled hues of my world,

My dainty, wobbling gait

With a sureness of trodding

Despite the slime and dirt sucking me in,

Have an intensity, a conviction.

If you care to soothen

Your great, chaotic headgear

You may perhaps, still see

The revelling leaves in the storm,

Still feel the bliss of pot-holed roads

Or the laughing oysters merging in love

With the endless equity

Of the seas.

Love Lies

I have tasted it for real

but it was always splendidly fake,

its meat, colour and flavour,

luscious in the scent of its madness,

inviting me to its stale perjury,

It was spicy, marinated, roasted, deliciously laid out

with crushed, seasoned juices almost gone dry.

I have danced with the limp

of its lisping lyricism,

lapping up the wild, straw-berried ice cream

in its splashes of glow worms

dying sequin- moments across the grey skies.

Its full-blown rose, heady, inebriate and beauty-laden,

always falling with tearful bubbles to the ground,

worthy of a memorial service.

It was as if the genuineness of its dreams

had spruced up with greenness my sleeping fervour -----

but it never finally did !

Its imagined truth never did arrive

but it always did live in the temporal flights

of ascending birds and sprightly fancies

invaded and struck down periodically

by the startling arrows of the unknown

black hunter.

Its dark joys glistened forever on

the mountains and mirrors-----

Potent and fragile like Lucifer,

revelling in his painted lies like Life

breathing in the warm sun of the charade

of its cosy night-corner, Love remains

ever-thirsty in the casualty of its own mirage.

Unborn Kill

I felt my throbs

deep within

the frothy warmth of

my mother’s insides.

I was she -----

a teardrop on the serrated edge

of being,

a dew on her hidden, clement leaf

soon to be sucked out by

the boiling seas, the hot winds

of prejudice -----

I am not sure when

or how my mother

loved or wept -----

not sure whether

it was a blunder, a crime,

an accident

or perhaps moral turpitude -----

But sure enough

I wept with her in pain

while my instant was

blotted out under

the dark arc lights

in an ageless cry.

Nirbhaya (On the Night of 16th December,2012)

her voice awakens us

a thumping soft echo rings in our bonded hearts

a falling star, an erupting timelessness

despite the hooded darkness

her sparkling absence

becomes our magic wand

on the road to freedom

she is here and now

she is you and me

within and around

she is everywhere

across and beyond the rainbow

underground and overground

our Durga, our Lakshmibai, our resurrected Christ

she ignites my question, your question

the question of countless Indians

wailing against that hapless Midnight

of our tryst with destiny

the ardour of a thousand blazing moons

the sprouting greenery after her shrieks

have ended myriad bleeding struggles

have sanitized our skies and seas

we are joined in worship

to redeem her unafraid tremor

resolved again to seek answers

Nirbhaya’s sleeping voice is sleepless today

with the lurking beasts still preying through

our streets, our homes, our very own spaces

our cacti-forests are on fire

our ravaged gardens seek justice

our aridities yearn for Nirbhaya’s

cool clear water

we face each other, for each other

linked in this encounter of

prayer with folded hands

in a caravan of peace

to the promised land

perhaps to arrive or never to,

with Nirbhaya’s surging symphony

her fuelling soul hopes for a new dawn

amid the outrage against

that celebrated Midnight of

Mahatma’s India

The God I Know

I have known him

in the cerulean shadows

of my dreams.

I have felt him

in the gnawing pulse

of my desperations:

I have drunk him

through the clenched roots

of my moist, muddied soul:

I see him often

beaming through the countless

faces of

my feelings,

my fears,

my hopes,

my tears -------

I often touch

his fleshy, ardent pinkness

through stretches of

my deepest sleep,

through the soul of

my hardest awakening.

I have heard this god of mine

through the midnight intensities

of joys unknown,

through the cacophony of living,

in the flappings of my free lines

in the sonority of my heart.

Life is the only god I know,

ever-loving,

ever-treacherous,

a splendid Krishna

ever-shifting,

a magic serenade

lilting through

the mirage of my golden screen.

Snapshots

ONE AND OTHER

While snowflakes

melt into my heart -----

I see the largeness of the sky,

the smallness of the bee -----

the blue infinitude and

the buzzing dot of honey -----

Why measure

the One against the Other ?

REST

I am in

the eye of the storm:

Look how it stops

to rest

in Me.

SELF

I saw her in the forest,

small, serrated, assailed,

a bleeding bloom entrenched

in her heart.

She looked for a cover

within me.

ISTHMUS

Masses lie

disjointed,

clouds, lands, woods,

islands of snow,

mirror shards -----

Watch there

the green isthmus growing,

conjoining with

the Limitless.

CHIAROSCURO

I am the Hibiscus,

the Water-Hyacinth too -----

I often add up

my colour and scent,

the mahua1 melody of Tune

with the tulsi2 rhythm of Word

in flower-full waters:

Look at

my chiaroscuro.

ROSEWAY

See how life

moves

down the roseway,

despite

the lesion, the canker,

falls asleep with

the lorie3 of pain

and rises to

the eyelids of the dawn.

CHILD

I gave her life

from seedy, unkempt agony -----

Look how she blossoms

to the sunlight,

my balm and cure.

#Mana

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