Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri

Shantanu Ray-Chaudhuri
POEM
 
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.
 

 
FUGITIVE
 
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.
 


WORDS

These words, forever elusive
calling from a future crossroads
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.
 
MUSINGS AT DUSK
 
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).

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Categories
Poetry

Sunday Morning with My Daughter

Poetry By Abin Chakraborty

SUNDAY MORNING WITH MY DAUGHTER

I'm halted by leaves
That flow through the streets 
With dry brown banners on high.

They chant their slogans of expired dreams
And sing to the tunes of decay and dross
With posters of others' bright claims.

Drained, I trudge and balance my books 
And sink within sofa and sloth.

But suddenly she bursts with laughter and light
And tramples my checklist of loss with her dreams
That range from the towers of wizards and kings
To spaceships in canyons of Mars.

I jump on her broom and fly
And bin all my "items not found".

LAYERS OF GREY

At times the days are all blurred.
Calendar and clock, melt into shapes
Of one grey blob
Sprinkled with fleets of yellow fallen leaves
Which sweep like ghazals of long buried loves
Here, along asphalted planes.

Slowly and slowly, they creep into my veins
And drain all the pigments through pores.
So, I flap and fumble in frustrating files
And fiddle with the fables of fate.

Of course, it's not always such.
There are bursts of crimson and Cobalt and mauve
That light up the dark of dog-eared days
With splashes and patterns of light.

But all seems distant and loose.
I flutter and rattle like windows unhinged
Or knobs that are no longer in groove.

Only in mists of grey, pallid strokes
My pages of misshapen woollens are laid
Like hoardings of outdated ads.

I cuddle and smear their shades
And grizzle into layers of grey.

Abin Chakraborty teaches English Literature in Chandernagore College and his poems have been published in different magazines. A collection of his poems, Unlettered Longings, has recently been published by Ukiyoto Publishing.

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Categories
Poetry

Entwined Places

By S Srinivasan

Artwork by Gita Viswanath
ENTWINED PLACES

Standing on the Juhu beach,
I heard, more than a decade ago, 
The winds from the Marina, 
In a smattering of Marathi and Tamil,
Accompanying birdsongs.

Blame that on a bout of homesickness
But what about last year, when

The Sealdah station, its turf
Pounded by the waves of human feet,
Seemed to me to reverberate 
With the weighty steps of the rush hour, 
Also felt in Mylapore and Nariman Point?

Perhaps, the crowds stirred me then
But that cannot be all, for

Often on cool Hyderabadi afternoons,
I have worn, in silence, the unease
Of Bangalore's woolen evenings;
And sensed in Delhi's nippy nights
The cold grip of other Indian winters...

Extremes sometimes addle the brain
And lull the heart, but…

Even when I take a leisurely stroll
On a summer dusk, around the lake
That girdles my neck of the woods,
I am greeted by the lush sights, of
The long winding ways yonder...

To Darjeeling and Kodaikkanal,
To Yercaud and Dehradun,
To Kashmir and Kanyakumari,
And to all that lies beyond.      

Srinivas S teaches English at the Rishi Valley School, India. He spends his free time taking long walks, watching cricket and writing poetry in short-form (mostly haiku).

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Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Tohm Bakelas

Courtesy: Creative Commons
untitled poem

under a blanket of wet leaves
i set fire to the night. crickets are
silent as the highway sings
sad songs. sleep offers no relief.
the night burns into morning. clouds
upon clouds upon clouds upon
clouds block out the sun, a white sky
with no breakthrough. i watch you
step out of your car like i do every day.
today is different, yet somehow the
same, like a weird déjà vu, but your
hair is shorter, when it was longer.

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He has published 15 chapbooks and 2 collections. He runs Between Shadows Press.  

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Categories
Poetry

Masquerade

By Sudakshina Kashyap

MASQUERADE

My body is an unmapped ocean
and I'm drowning,
constantly sinking
in the band-aids of fluidity.
You see, 
depression vivisects
every stanza of the anatomy of poetry, turning me into a lullaby
whose verses are unable
to find the chords of my breaths;
for I am blackout poetry, 
a tragedy 
masquerading as an art. 

Sudakshina Kashyap identifies herself as someone messy, who often had pixie cuts as a child to annoy her neighbourhood aunties, and now she gets lost even on straight roads— but being messy is only poetic. Her works have appeared on a number of literary journals, media houses, print and e-magazines. She’s an International Youth Delegate from India and a Co-Author of two poetry anthologies.

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Categories
Poetry

The Village Remembers Devotion

By Amritendu Ghosal

           THE VILLAGE REMEMBERS DEVOTION

             An unhooked summer evening
    A few shops bob atop the bubbles of drowsiness
               The lanes are dim
         The seventy-year-old grocery man
           Opens a steel can of ghee
      For his friend --The cream is good
               Homemade-- he says.

       His friend in grey trousers and a white shirt
               Buys two cigarettes,
                a box of matches
        and a five-rupee pack of butter biscuits.

        My heart pings to the sky and pongs back
      Who would suspect that the world was on fire?
        The stars while away a few more minutes
            Smoking in the back alley
      Before broadcasting intergalactic lessons
           On space, time and proportion.

                Night descends
         The cows are back in the shed
    I hear, floating in with the western breeze
  Kirtan songs from the temple at the top of the hill
      Where they say Vishnu had set his foot
   So long ago nobody could tell exactly how long.
  The sweet cymbals mingle with the resonant dhol
         The eternal rhythm keeps playing
      The children fall asleep in the village.

Amritendu Ghosal works as an Assistant Professor in Department of English at Anugrah Memorial College, Gaya. He has completed his doctoral research from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and has worked as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA. His poems have appeared in Ucity Review, Mad Swirl, Visions, Shot Glass Journal, The Tipton Poetry Review, The Sunflower Collective etc.

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Categories
Poetry

The Sky Salutes

By Shailja Sharma

THE SKY SALUTES

To those who patiently listen behind the stutter
To those who smile at an untended feeling hidden in a tantrum
To those who see the chance of fire in the rub of two stones
Lighting up pathways in a dark forest
The sky salutes 

To those who nod at words spoken from a distant alley
To those who shake hands with the person and not their credentials
To those who drag the sun amidst a hundred clouds
Sparking a hope on the solemn face of Earth
The sky salutes 

The sky salutes by embracing them in a bright-yellow hug 
And by sprinkling confetti around the moon
The sky celebrates them floating orange petals at their sun-set
And covering their heads with eternity
The sky simply salutes 

Shailja Sharma is a mental health provider and a multilingual author.  Apart from scholarly publication, her literary writings have been nationally/internationally published. 

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Categories
Poetry

Asandhimitra

Poetry by Mini Babu

King Asoka with his queens. Sanchi. 3rd Century BC. Courtesy: Creative Commons
ASANDHIMITRA

I am the wife
of his perfect years,
the most favoured,
I have evidenced
that which others were
fortunate not to view.
His nights were sorrowful,
remorse preoccupied
his dreams,
100,000 put to death
and 150,000 deported.
His head was a never-ceasing
battlefield, he asked for 
measures to undo a war,
that was long waging
since Kalinga !
How could one unmake deaths ?
He turned a Buddha-Bhikshu
and preached.
It was erroneous to kill an ant,
his subjects heeded
and dispersed.

Many more Asokas
will burn in sleep,
and many more Asandhimitras
will lose sleep.

I am Asandhimitra,
Agramahisi to 
Asoka the Great.

*Agramahisi – chief queen.
Asoka the Great was an Indian Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, after the war of Kalinga he was aggrieved over the bloodshed and vowed never to fight again. He patronized Buddhism during his reign.

Mini Babu is working as Associate Professor of English with the Dept. of Collegiate Education,Govt. of Kerala. Her poems have been featured in anthologies, journals and magazines. Her collections of poems are Kaleidoscope (2020), Shorelines (2021) and Memory Cells (2022).

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Categories
Poetry

The Colour of Time

Poetry & translation from Korean by Ihlwha Choi

Courtesy: Creative Commons
THE COLOUR OF TIME

Every tree colours with their own colour.
Chestnut trees have their own tint.
Oak trees revel in their unique hues.
When I was young, was my colour quite green?
My first love seemed like a magnolia.
My job, where I worked all my life,
My native village -- a variety of flowers, cicadas
and the crust of overcooked rice – each were distinct in their colouration.

Becoming old ripens one's own nature.
The passion of red roses transform to autumn colours,
The farmers assume the colour of earth on autumnal mornings
and a poet’s character matures. 
Love and hatred, meeting and departing,
Sweet temptation and bitter betrayal,
and the dialects like the barley buds of old playmates
are all turning to the colour of the early winter.

Ihlwha Choi is a South Korean poet. He has published multiple poetry collections, such as Until the Time, When Our Love will Flourish, The Colour of Time, His Song and The Last Rehearsal.

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Categories
Poetry

This Grey Morning

By Marianne Tefft

THIS GREY MORNING

This grey morning
I get to study the ceiling bemused
Hoping the long-awaited repair
Has stemmed the active leak at last
I do not have to scan the terrible clouds 
Praying what rains from the grim sky
Will not drown me and my daughter today

This grey morning
I get to pause Saturday’s Long Read
Set my warm cup in its saucer
And push up from my table
Heeding the scraping of my hungry dog at the door
I do not have to raise a broken chair from the rubble
Against those who want the putrid scraps
I have made my own 

This grey morning
I get to wallow in bed
Nursing my broken heart
I do not have to lie on frozen earth
Hands pressed to my chest
Sticky and red
Bravely sighing this is how love ends

Marianne Tefft, born in the U.S. and raised in Canada, is a poet, lyricist, teacher and voiceover artist on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Her first poetry collection, Full Moon Fire, is slated to appear in Summer 2022.

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