Santosh Bakaya (Voices Within)

Internationally acclaimed for her poetic biography of Gandhi, [Ballad of Bapu], Dr Santosh Bakaya is an academic- novelist- essayist - poet- Ted Speaker , whose Ted talk
 'The myth of Writer's' Block' is popular in creative writing workshops .Where are the Lilacs? Under the Apple Boughs ,Songs of Belligerence are her poetry books Her latest book is , Only in Darkness can you see the Stars , [Martin Luther King Jr's biography ]A Skyful of Balloons ,[novella] Bring out the tall Tales[ Short stories with Avijit Sarkar] are her other books .She runs a popular column , Morning Meanderings in Learning and Creativity. com.

Over-weening hate

There comes spring, with a spring in its gait.
 Is the wait finally over?
The over- weening hate, gone? Perished?
 A frightened mocking bird, half -opens its eyes; sighs,
cowers, as overpowering hate, sharpens its teeth.
Once again.

Come, let’s not cow down under this assault of hate,
sit quietly under a shady apple bough to mull over
our gains and losses.
Gains? Where are the gains?
Only an unending litany of pains.

How long will the spring last?
Oh, there goes another blast!
Has the spring already come and gone?

Why does the sun also have a petrified look?
The babbling brook has reined in its babble,
 the rabble has also fallen silent.

Meanwhile, the high-ups in their luxurious mansions,
unfazed, play scrabble, resiliently coining synonyms of hate,
mangling spellings and distorting words, to gain over their foe.
 Woe! Woe! Woe!

It is not night yet

There is rampant darkness, but it is not night yet,
armed with high- powered torches,
 lost folk, choking on their dreams, stumble on,
tumbling over splinters of their rose- tinted hopes.

With furrowed brows, they peer around,
 hunting for patches of sunshine,
or perhaps for that stiff- upper lipped, silver- lined cloud,
acting so pricey, so elusive.
Ah, things are so dicey, so terrifying.
“Mama, but I just woke up, why is it still dark?”
 “Mama, please, I cannot see a thing.”
“Mama, hold my hand, don’t you leave me in this dark.”
Cries of kids, skidding on freshly fallen snow
resound in the surroundings, not one bird sings,
not a leaf stirs; as a willow weeps in sympathetic grief.

 Are they treading on a saffron field or a cemetery?
How is one to know in the darkness overpowering?

 I still smell those vibrant Flowers

There is an itching in the scars of yesteryears.
Do I smell those fragrant flowers?
I sit here as the wilted flowers of memory
suddenly resurrect, as a beautiful pheran clad,
 rosy-cheeked girl, sitting on a boulder near the Lidder,
croons a Lal Ded song, a pitcher of water on her head,
 ‘zuv Chum bramAn ghar gatshaha’,
[God, please
take me home, my heart yearns to go home.]
striking at the roots of a world, gone hopelessly wrong.

A pathetic little snowman sheds tears for a lost age,
 the two chinar leaves doing double duty as its hands,
 beckoning me towards that grand age,
where tiny Nasreen and tinier Veena, chortled in juvenile mirth,
hopscotching away their childhood on a happy earth .
Yes, I still smell those flowers.

Voices Within-2020 :: Setu, February 2020


  1. 'Over-weening hate' is a poem, straight from poet's anguished heart. it is so meaningful in our trying time,

  2. All the three poems are great, as ever. Kudos to you and your golden pen.


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