Poetry by Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri

Shantanu Ray-Chaudhuri
A poem beckons
      in dawn’s distant glow
across the sea.

Can you teach me
       how to walk on water?
You have all the answers.

Or is it too late in the day,
          or has the day fractured
even before it has begun?
But I must walk
       if only to drown.
Surely, it is never too late

to lose all your bearings
        in the quest for silence
at the poem’s heart.

In these anonymous lanes
I look for the lost tree of my childhood
now buried deep in night’s dark soul.
The city lights are myths
that mask the impossible longings
of my fugitive heart.


These words, forever elusive
calling from a future crossroad
have led me to this dream.
Tiptoe into my sleep
this one sleepless night
and retrieve them for me.
Only if caressed by you
will they come home.
Only if born of you
will they find meaning.
Only then will a poem
walk out and breathe.
Can you tell me why it feels like something has just ended? And yet in the end, is a beginning? In the moving on, a return? Why has one wanted to traverse miles of open spaces today? And why has one stayed rooted at one place, enclosed inside four walls of this room? Why has one wanted to spread one’s arms and embrace the world? And why has one buried one’s face in the pillow and shied away? Why was dawn so heady and at peace with itself? And why has the day born of it felt like a stranger? Why has dusk approached with this breathtaking suddenness, as if wanting an end? And why then has it paused, hesitant, contented itself with an ellipse … Why does it feel as if I am being written somewhere? And yet an essence has been blotted in unwept tears? Why does it feel like someone has called my name again and again? And yet, all day, I have been privy to the silence of mountains in the winter?

Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri is a film buff, editor, publisher, film critic and writer. Books commissioned and edited by him have won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema twice and the inaugural MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images) Award for Best Writing on Cinema. In 2017, he was named Editor of the Year by the apex publishing body, Publishing Next. He has contributed to a number of magazines and websites like The Daily Eye, Cinemaazi, Film Companion, The Wire, Outlook, The Taj, and others. He is the author of two books: Whims – A Book of Poems (published by Writers Workshop) and Icons from Bollywood (published by Penguin/Puffin).



4 replies on “Poetry by Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri”

Such beautifully expressed poems…it’s as if some kind of magic is created with words…it’s always always a pleasure reading your poems Shantanu…keep writing!

Liked by 1 person

Shantanu weaves magic with his words. There is so much of depth in his poetry. Beautiful and meaningful poems. Each word strikes a cord with you and stays with you.

Liked by 1 person

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