A ruinous scent wafts along pushed by the wind,
bearing melody and shivers.
Sap ripens inside flowers and fruits-
Pink lines of the palm,
fine granules of the lip.
The star blazing light,
or the one that is no longer a star
In all stages of the pulsar
colors wake up;
Black and pink – chiefly, somewhere green
A tad brown,
a bit scarlet, some blue inside.
Floating in gently,
the scent travels far away
Captured in easel and brush
Trapped in the kernel of fruits
The ruinous scent of a dark, enormous rise.
There goes the horsehead, spitting fire
Hot yellow flames raging in the wind
Sizzling letters of the alphabet
coming down in shreds
On the green velvet grass.
Letters- broken, bruised, unworkable
Smoke- spiraling, rising above
exposed, heaped, frigid
There goes the speeding horsehead
Tender mutha grass, grassland,
green & sprawling-
Terrifying barf of yellow,
Rushing to the wetlands, slurping water.
The word ‘shelter’- all falling apart
The word ‘thirst’- jetting from the ruins
Hereafter, none would say- think! ever again;
Would anyone ask himself again
There comes the horsehead, spitting fire.
You Woke Me Up
Today you woke me up in the morning
And showed me the tea cups,
water turning into steam,
The silk-cotton trees
showering their ethereal charm
On the seat of a beggar girl.
Seat! – you revealed this word to me.
And introduced me to the babbling stream;
Called me out from beyond-
Stopped your boat to let me board
Gave me love and intimacy
Gave me a drink
of sugarcane juice
The girl named Banani,
the trees named Deodar.
And I travelled far, to the source of water,
following the trail
Got lost in the woods,
suffered from spring-fever
Saw the sharp daggers of violence
I have seen them in the evening
At midnight, afternoon, dawn
Die-out of birds, flowers
and ideas, so many.
Color of Poetry
I fix my gaze, unblinking,
And as I observe the painting
I observe none other but you.
Add a little oil and see the colors soften –
A short stroke helps
and the color in poetry melts
Color changes color changes color.
I put aside the script and focus only on you.
A little indifferent you are
Graceful metered and erotic –
Glance not so alluring,
Yet you talk to me endlessly, in silence.
Wear your hair down, your coarse fingers
Wet and cold like a pet lizard –
ever so exciting.
Make me hear the babbles of the stream
flowing in your body
The stream of your blood and juice
Won’t you ever touch me?
Is there anything amiss in your body?
–Now I use the other end of the brush.
Suddenly I am struck by a gust of wind
Perhaps some boatmen
weighed the anchor
I rolled and rocked and saw you too
Rocking, new poetry,
Blurred and obscure, swinging,
Leaning in an eagerness to touch-
Your hair is undone
Your blouse is unbuttoned!
Seething swords of thirst
Fruits wrapped in blankets
Engravings of a winter night in stone
Arms of a palm leaf drowned in water
The spinning pottery wheel
And the engulfing swarm of wasps and hornets.
The cruel secrecy of stones –
The ports are quietly expressing it;
A black and enormous sun
would rise again
mixed with fear and salt
Would inundate the entire garden!
Wall and Bed
Wall made of ice
Bed bestrewn with thorns
And the song: I love you
Words are sloth, letters dizzy and frail,
Yet the tunes are swelling up like tents
The chairs: drowsy and relentless
A leg is stretched out away from the bed
A few birds chirping inside the tent;
The bronze wings, the cravings,
and the rolled eyes.
Defeat, or a vulnerable antler deer;
Wall, or a sense of collapse;
or walk with crutches… step by step
All the way to the icy wall
To the bed bestrewn with thorns.
Querida Respuesta, Sal Por Favor
There are many ways to forget that perennial sound of the gong.
Loud & vulgar, it goes on incessantly without our approval.
Let it go on, silently, allowing us to spread out our landscape & tourism.
Our yawns, postures, misgivings.
We’ll play on our own terms, plant kisses, ring up wrong numbers.
We’ll wind up a long straight line into a coil, and release it abruptly
so as to see it spring with enormous energy.
We’ll mimic the sounds of thunderous clouds and whispers of the army
of red ants that move under the tree-roots within the forest.
Choicest friends we’ll amass in an abandoned mine and play these sounds.
We can even dive into the depth of a scratch on the surface of steel,
since we aimed to venture everywhere, wherever there are questions,
’cause the questions are our prime mover.
It might take us days and months and years, in flesh & blood, in eroticsqueals,
in death and birth, in forging new relationships, pursuing all the answers
that we’d sought.
Oh, come out yee answers from a mother’s womb, from a printer’s desk, from holy trees;
Come out yee answer-sheets, swine, crooked, warmongering-
Come out from the cryogenic fossils, oh answers, please!
(Translated by: Shankar Lahiri & Aritra Sanyal)
Shankar Lahiri (1950) is a poet, editor, prose writer, filmmaker, artist, and an avid thinker. Now a retired engineer, Lahiri keeps himself fully engaged in forest safari, photography, book-designing, computer graphics and study of cosmology apart from writing and trying to curate his own universe full of endless possibilities. A poet of 80s, he has been actively associated with the cult Bengali little Magazine, Kaurab, as a member of its editorial board. He has authored seven books of poems, three books of prose (non-fiction), and has edited the complete works of Swadesh Sen. He has so far directed four films based on poetry, the latest of which (M B Rajmahal) is available on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEqy5VhR_ag&t=37s