Voices Within: Santosh Bakaya

Dr. Santosh Bakaya is an academician - poet- novelist - essayist - book reviewer -editor - Ted Speaker. She is the recipient of the International Reuel Award for Writing and Literature [2014] for her long poem Oh Hark! and the Universal Inspirational Poet Award, 2016, [conferred jointly by Pentasi B Friendship Poetry group and the Ghana Government May 2016]. She is Universally acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu. Her other books which have been very well received are: Where are the lilacs? Under the Apple Boughs [poetry] Flights from my Terrace [Essays], and A Skyful of Balloons [novella]. Her poetry and prose appear regularly in national and international journals. 
Only war, only turmoil
 Hidden behind heated headlines,
prescient punditry, and raving rhetoric
cowers the refugee.
Wistful eyes, tear- streaked cheeks,
a broken heart,
meekly recalling that sun- streaked patch in his patio,
where his lazy cat napped,
 his crazy dog snapped at the flies,
and chased butterflies,
 while blades of grass swayed in the happy breeze
and his grandfather dozed in his easy chair.

Rootless, bootless, he trudges on, bowed down
under unending pain towards a future
uncertain; “only war, only turmoil’,
 he mumbles, stumbling under
 a tree, finally finds home;
 in an exhausted sleep.
 So very deep.
So deep.

 Nocturnal Murmurs
 I listen to the nocturnal murmurs, high- strung
humming notes long lost;
one bursts a lung,
another whispers through a blistered tongue.
Someone soft- spoken drones on and on
in a deep baritone.
Soon, with the coming of dawn and the
dew drops on the lawn,
 glistening and preening,
my forlorn thoughts scatter,
like pearls cascading from a broken necklace.
Some valiant ones rise, but are apparently concussed,
 incapacitated they lie; a painful reproach in their eyes.

Decimating the fog, a ray of sunlight, fiery and adventurous,
creeps through a chink in the window, sportingly tickles
 the flowers on the upholstery of an antique sofa,
falls on the kitten near the dead fireplace,
ignites fire in the cat’s lackluster eyes
and the cat purrs, spurring on
 the dawn of a

 Songs of youthfulness

 I watch from the shadows, as they run amok,
a happy twosome, hand in hand,
zipping through the saffron fields,
 tripping over the grand yields,
 merrily singing songs of youthfulness.

The pines and the deodars joyously head- bang
and even the willows forget to weep.
The billibichoor* perched atop a tree watches
with a happy languor;
smiles mystically at one hysterical head- banger.
The little Grebe cruises along, with an apparent nonchalance.
 The curious hoopoe cranes its neck, only to lose its balance.
Ah, with a smile, I snuggle closer to that ‘invincible summer’
 in cold winter months.

 Where are the love birds?
 Where the cheerful head- banging?

The morn had some teething trouble,
 but a fool, I was still rummaging in the rubble.
 Just some time back, wasn’t I in heaven,
 but how is it that I am still breathing?

 *Billibichoor is the Kashmiri name for Bulbul.
I slump like a rag doll
losing the hang of the jigsaw puzzle,
 But I rise,
yes, like the toddler
proud of its shambling gait

I rise
to newer dreams;
a scream dribbles in the air,
yet strangling it and picking myself up
slowly gaining a surefootedness
I rise.

Like the mangy mongrel, wounded,
kicked cruelly, stoned brutally
 rises, to curl next to a beggar poor;
 who too rises from his stupor,
enlivened by the canine tactility,
 I rise.

I rise
like that dusky shape in the tree
sitting unmoving, rising from its diurnal sloth
to its nocturnal glory
 becoming an owl flitting
 around with a merry flap of wings.
The invisible becoming visible; to weave a new story
I rise.

I rise
 in a whir of wings in harvested meadows
slumping in delicious abandon
 under a luxurious tree of spring
and yet again
I rise.

Every moment, every day, I fall and rise,
and then fall again,
 like an orphan leaf in an autumnal gale.
Then, to spin a new, positive tale
in a new sunrise, again
 I rise.
 Fall and rise, rise and fall,
 buffing up my limp resilience,
 jump headlong into the maelstrom of another day
 with the rising sun
I rise.

Voices Within - Complete List of Poets :: Setu, January 2019

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