Voices Within: Jagari Mukherjee

Jagari Mukherjee is a poet, writer, and reviewer from Kolkata, India. She has an MA in English Literature from University of Pune, and was awarded a gold medal and several prizes by the university for excelling in her discipline. Her writings, both poetry and prose, have appeared in several newspapers, magazines, journals, anthologies, and blogs. She is a DAAD scholar, Best of the Net 2018 nominee, a Bear River alumna, and the winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 for book review. Jagari is the Resident Editor of Poetry & Poets.

Yesterday, we huddled together like
children against the cold, under
the blanket of poetry.
My dark, woollen-green words,
thick and unadorned, swaddled
you like a newborn, while
I nestled in the silken cocoon
of your yellow lines.

(The world thinks that I am
a fanciful butterfly and you,
a suave man of the world, but)

those moments are the quietest
when we breathe in the silence
of our days and nights –
soft, heavy, soporific
with unshackled verse.


Marianne, you are a tree
tall and wide with kindness
as befits a mother of four
who worked in camps in Greece.
The exotica of your tales belong
to the desperate and the poor.
I know that you stole from
the moon to light their lamps.

Marianne, your kaftans of
colorful chiffon are fragrant
with damask and ambergris.
You loved, and lost, a man forbidden,
and I know that the pain of love
is never scant; the soul is scooped out
till it is shattered and sore.

Marianne, you met him on a
morning warm and blue.
On a hot moonlit night, you
broke a taboo in a tent amidst
a serenade of insects wild.
The romantic Mediterranean
was nowhere to be seen, and
your untamed thirst could not
be contained or mild.

And now, in cold Michigan,
you and I nurse our loss.
Broken hearts do not respect age.
You write a poem in a notebook
with a touch of green moss.
Marianne, I cry at your tears
as I destroy poems from
page after page.

My Mother Bird is a Muse-master
who teaches me how to fly.
I have seen him in blue,
I have seen him in grey.
He gives me golden straws
to build my home in
green trees with orange flowers.
My nest is lines for warmth
with his feathers.
On white mornings, I wake up
with him in my eyes.
At sunset, I dream of his
Soft satin skies and
Turn his feathers into quills.
These quills are stained with
the ink of twilight, and so,
My Muse-master is a Mother Bird,
and love –
the art of unfettered flight.


I imagine what it is like
to be you –
to be a mother and
spend your evenings with
a child on your lap,
to pick your son up from school
and your daughter from her tennis class.
Tell me
how long does it take
to knit a tiny woollen cap?
What happens when your eyes
meet that of your child’s and
the drowsy late evening
is filled with your lullaby?
I imagine what it is like
to quickly jot down a poem
after a child has gone to sleep.
I imagine the feeling of
driving home from work
and gathering a small being
in your eager embrace.

I wonder if to be you
is a desire or a dream
brimming at places where
Lonely creatures live.
Now you know why I imagine
what it is like to be you;
do you also sometimes wonder
what it is like to be me?
Voices Within - Complete List of Poets :: Setu, January 2019

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