Ajanta Paul (Voices Within)

Dr. Ajanta Paul is an academician, administrator, poet and author. She is currently Principal & Professor at Women’s Christian College, Kolkata. She has edited and revised several non-fiction books in addition to publishing academic papers in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Paul published her recent literary work – A Journey Eternal: Poems and Plays in 2013 (Salesian College Publication, Siliguri, WB, 2013, ISBN 978 -93-82216-05-6) following it up with – The Elixir Maker and Other Stories in 2019 (Authorspress, New Delhi, 2019, ISBN - 9 789 388 332620.


In a desert island of mundane metaphors
And briars of barren themes
I strive to be rescued.

I cry out
Trying first one, and then another voice
Till my throat aches and no syllable issues forth.

Yet no one hears me...
Neither the words nor the silences
As the seas swirl and subside endlessly.

I light a fire
With the fossilized memories that litter the mind
But no one sees the frantic signal.

I scribble on a piece of paper
Rummaged from my pocket
And put it in my water bottle

Launching it gently on the currents
Hoping someone, somewhere
Will intercept the seafaring missive

Will heed my plea for rescue
And come to take me away
From my remote isolation to creative rehabilitation.


Words were hammering 
At the door, clamouring 
To be let out, of the cage
 Of the mind so cramped
And overgrown with weeds
And other useless needs.

They had suffered a long confinement
In the dark womb of thought
And had had a hard birth
Travelling all the way
To the mouth
Only to find it tightly clamped.


There was a time
when she wrote on paper
yes, with a ballpoint or any other pen

on any piece of paper
that happened to be around
old envelopes or backs of flyers

slant of idea, curve of feeling
captured in careless calligraphy
in the rash shorthand of creativity

before the words could disappear
into thin air
the way they had come

they eventually did go away, though
becoming the diet of termites
in the way of analogous rites

digital forms are more enduring, they said
and sure enough, she switched interfaces
texting haikus from the heart

this was good for a while, or so it seemed
till the language changed, a pity
or was it the sensibility?

with an archaic dialect, you never can tell
what is what, and when things change
all she could be sure of was

that what she wrote no longer made sense
no, not to her, or to anyone else
was it she, or they who were dense?

Voices Within-2020 :: Setu, February 2020

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