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,