TEDDY BEAR ON THE WAR FRONT (News Report from Irpin, Ukraine, 2022) The teddy bear sits benumbed presiding over the rubble Of civilisation Of compassion Of humanity A debris of fun and play Teddy sits smirking over the Skeleton of the cat, her Bones, a curled cadaver Her couch and cushions in smithereens The house shredded by the missile Walls cracking and crumbling with the Child’s screams as shards From the tiny throat Teddy bear, the dumb survivor, No arms to melt his frozen heart Watching the carnage with Big round buttons gyrated into unseeing eyes Wrapped in grief The gentle wool on Teddy spikes The bristles stand stiff and sharp Rivers of tears flow Into the turbulent ocean And a tsunami of teddy bears Marches into the war zone Looking for children to comfort TELLING VIGNETTES It’s dementia… For grandmother It’s a staccato war Ends each day and Starts the next morning again it is a re-wind to World War II the wake of bombing kills people seventy years later * Pregnant with deadly nightmares Moskva the missile cruiser sank The Black Sea swallowed all her bombs Stuffed with a thousand deaths * Bullet marks on the walls remnants of war people in homes behind unhealed * Ghosts born of bombs are stripped of death Sans the mortal attire They live on to haunt * The web of nerves on the inert dog’s neck pulsates with lifelessness It’s wartime * More live than the forlorn dog are the shadows of bullets on the walls of Irpin Deep craters on the earth hold silence born of the boom * They are not moon craters These on the earth mark technology of warfare Massive progress in hunting and getting the big kill
Sukrita Paul Kumar, former Fellow of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, held the prestigious Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at Delhi University. An honorary faculty at Corfu, Greece, she was an invited resident poet at the prestigious International Writing Programme at Iowa, USA. Her most recent collections of poems, are Vanishing Words, Country Drive and Dream Catcher. Her critical books include Narrating Partition, The New Story and Conversations on Modernism. She has co-edited many books, including Speaking for Herself: Asian Women’s Writings (Penguin). An Honorary Fellow at HK Baptist University, Hong Kong, she has published many translations and has held exhibitions of her paintings. Currently she is series co-editor of “Writer in Context” volumes being published by Routledge UK and South Asia.
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