Voices Within: Sharmila Ray

Sharmila Ray is a poet and non-fiction essayist, writing in English and anthologized and featured in India and abroad. Her poems, short stories and non fictional essays have appeared in various national and international magazines and journals. She is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of History at City College, Kolkata... She has authored nine books of poetry. She conducted poetry workshops organized by British Council, Poetry Society of India, Sahitya Akademi... She has been reading her poems in India and abroad... Her poems have been translated into Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Slovene, Hebrew and Spanish. She has received award from Women’s Times and Green Tara Initiatives for poetry (2018).

Dead Sea Scrolls

Secrets freezed in the caves of Judea
in windowless, airless, lightless hole,
they claim’d it’s sacred, they claim’d it’s holy
the arid desert air preserved it’s soul.

Papyrus, parchment and bronze fragments
brought together by the Essenes sect,
Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek letterings
captured memory in ancient text.

Hearts lynched and battered skulls
the stench of viscera in the dying sun,
 remnants of dissent against Roman lords
and the curious  universe on the run.

Reduced by time to forgotten scrolls
and left alone to repose in past,
until that day a shepherd discovered
those mystical  talismans of a time vast.

Stones of Gwalior Fort

Once here, the stones half defaced by lichen now,
were witness to stories of death and resurrection.
Now covered in darkness and tree roots, they are
drunk with absence and shadows of transient things.
Assorted storylines are embedded in their pores
awaiting a perceptible traveler.

One day, perhaps, the stones will speak
emerging from bleeding night
luminous with sprouted new leaves.

A Horse Idea, a Zebra Idea or…

With some surprise I witness the sound symbols taking form inside my head.
Thoughts –rotating, circular like a carousel, ideas taking shape: a horse idea,
a zebra idea or maybe  some mythological creatures such as dragons and unicorns…
Through the befogged lens of my eyes I try to see inside the thoughts, misty like unused windows.
They move, swirl in vagueness lifting the veil and all of a sudden engulfing me.
The horses and the zebras in the dissolving softness of expectation take me across steppes and savannah to uncharted landscape waiting for a purple midnight.
There they come face to face with unicorns and dragons smeared with glitters of a lost world and
 Bacchus playing with lions, their mane plaited with vine leaves. Even Arjuna lays aside his Gandiva and inexhaustible quivers to frolic with Artemis in the wildland.
The sweet smell of burnt cedar branches make the air pleasantly
I move upwards through my thought-pattern, sprawled like a net across my being, slowly transforming into sun-bright spirals, leaving behind air grafted with a ballad.

Open One Window

You can close all the doors
 but open only one window for me
 before the self stops speaking
and sounds do not resound anymore.

You, My Poem

Oh! my poem I try to create you,
I undo you, you who bring me sleep
 and stories of Shangrila.

Vibrations of love, unprecedented laceration
 and childlike smile are there if I must have you.
You, my poem, your progressing hands rip open
everything that I hide amongst layers of language
and I at last sink through a hundred degrees
 of words and metaphors.

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

1 comment :

  1. A poem that brings the Dead Scrolls into life, through the poet's sensitive journey back into the past through the Judean caves,where a Bedouin shepherd, hunting for a lost sheep in Qumaran is seen holding it in his hands.I could feel the smell of Papyrus that held the sacred Bible on its chest.The poem resembles a mystical talisman, an inscribed ring shining bright.

    -Satishchandran Matamp


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।