Amalkanti: Nirendranath Chakraborty

Amalkanti was my friend,
We went to school together.
He’d be late to class every day, couldn’t do his lessons
When told to decline verbs
He’d gaze at the window with such surprise that
We’d feel very sorry for him.

Some of us wanted to be teachers, some, doctors, some, lawyers.
Amalkanti didn’t want any of this.
He wanted to be the sunshine.
The elusive sunshine after the rain, filled with the cries of crows
Which dangles like a fragile smile
From berries and berry leaves.

Some of us grew up to be teachers, some, doctors, some, lawyers.
Amankanti didn’t grow up to be the sunshine.
He works at a lightless press now.
Sometimes he comes to see me for a cup of tea
And a chat, and then says, ‘Time to go.’
I walk him to the door.

The one among us who teaches
Could easily have been a doctor instead
It wouldn’t have mattered much if the one
Who wanted to be a doctor had been a lawyer.
Everyone got their wish, except Amalkanti.
Amalkanti couldn’t become the sunshine.
The very same Amalkanti who, musing on sunbeams,
Had wanted to grow up to become the sunshine

brown concrete bricks wall
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

.

Let All That Be For Now: Manindra Gupta

After a million years of living together
It will be decided whether you’re mine.
Let all that be for now.
Wild plums have ripened in the Mikir hills,
Let’s go eat them.
Against the sunset
Unkempt rust-coloured hair
Is flying like gleaming orchid roots.
– Let me, let me look at your coppery face

The sun will set any moment. Gaunt as beasts,
We’re wading through a knee-deep stream –
The current keeps growing stronger…icier…

Fire of my reverence: Shakti Chattopadhyay

Fire of my reverence
Incinerate me
First, torch the two feet that can no longer move
Then the hands which hold no love or order today
Now icebergs of flowers in the crook of the arms
No more responsibility settling on the shoulders
Burn them in proximity to life
Stop a moment, then destroy
The silent seat of knowledge coloured by truth and lies
Save the pair of eyes
Maybe they still have
Something left to see
When the tears have stopped flowing crush the eyes
Don’t burn the garlands and bouquets dishevelled with fragrance
A loved touch lives on their bodies
Let them drift on the river freely, wilfully
Fire of my reverence
Incinerate me

Stone: Mandakranta Sen

Your breast is like stone, you’re a man
Let me lie on it, I want to lie on it
I’ve rubbed my mouth on stone, such a terrible wound
On my lips

How shameless the wound is, it refuses to heal
It doesn’t want to hide its face
It’s an ugly sight, but still it doesn’t seem
Reluctant

Stone is cold, stone is so bare my love
I have rinsed stone with my tears
On this stone I’ll just smear a fistful
Of soil

Your face is smeared with earth, you’re a man
Let me wash it off, I want to wash it off
The wound is old, and yet a touch still
Makes it bleed

Words: Premendra Mitra

Even afterwards there are things to say
After it has rained
Like the soil-smeared smell of a wet cool wind,
Blurred, like clouds
Who knows whether they’re words
Or a trembling vibrant silence

I shall not say these things to her
In pauses between the determination and effort to survive
My astonished heart
Tells itself in solitude
All these mist-like words
I have whispered many strange things
How much of what the heart means
Can these words hold anyway

Like snow all these words melt
On a lofty peak
Of passion
I touch a hand with my hand
Grope within my heart with words
Do we have each other still?

And so when all my words
Have been defeated, a sigh
Flows, and perhaps indifferent time
Shivers by mistake, once

And then in every crack of existence
The fog settles, and words
Like the fog, roll towards the horizon