Poetry: Mitali Chakravarty

* Author of the Month *
Mitali Chakravarty
Mitali Chakravarty (India/Singapore) is a writer and an editor. Her by-lines appeared in The Statesman, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times and The Pioneer in the 1980s upto 1992; more recently, on Kitaab.org, Countercurrents.org, Modern Literature, The Daily Star (Bangladesh) and Harbinger Asylum Quarterly (USA). She has been part of numerous anthologies. Mitali translates Bengali writer Nabendu Ghosh to English and also translates from Hindi. She has authored In the Land of Dragons, a humorous book of essays on living in China. She is the founding editor of borderlessjournal.com.

1. Cityscape 

A sea inlet named a river, 
a little green gem settled by men in sarongs.
overhanging trees, green with sampan breeze

That was all before —
before the advent of Corona,
before the colonials left
with a legacy

Now, City Hall throbs with empty walls.
The sampans, replaced by bumboats
with colorful flags, no longer sail
tourists down the Singapura
to see the Merlion

spout water from its mythical mouth 
— Half lion, half mer—
dream of an emperor
painted white with a twenty first century brush
that scoffs at rain

The land reclaimed
by buildings made to imitate durians, 
some stand tall with ships aloft the sky

And then under the Coleman Bridge
flowed the river, looking
at the museum, the theatre 
named after a queen that only knew victory;
at the silhouettes of skyscrapers, the banks
which scream emptiness 
scared by a virus 
that halts life.

But what is this a little sliver of light smiling
with a tinkle on the waters 
that gently wove stories into the land? 
What is this sliver?

It is the spirit of the land— Hope.
Hope built by years of endurance and hard work—
of a young nation that now mellows with time,
gives shelter to yours and mine. 

2. Spring 

Gazelles gaze on corona wrought streets
Fearless, emboldened 

Peacocks dance freed
by the absence of mankind

Birds soar across uninterrupted skies 
in patterns unseen by human eyes.
Skies turn a brilliant blue.
Nature blushes like a bride anew.

Each day nature a step further takes
as humans are forced to recede indoors, 
Caged —
frightened by the outer rim of a growing sun
that reaches out to cremate
human remains.

When will Nature give a respite?
When will the Outer Rim subside?

The spirit of Lalon sings a new song—

Dance, dance Jord, Yakshas and Nymphs
in harmony with the Sylphs,
all with love the Earth fill —
Love that will wash away all hate.
Anoint, anoint again with
Tolerance, Harmony, Joy.

3. Sunshine in Rain

Every day is a surprise.
Each dawn is a sunrise.

Sunshine in rain.
Leaves gleaming
With drops of 
bejeweled water, 
wet with 
redolent raindrops
Waiting to be kissed 
by a golden oriole.

Rain in sunshine.
Sharp crystal sticks 
Of serrated glass
fall not shattering
But pattering, 
moistening the Earth
Awakening desire —
Fertile, fecund.

Rain in corona
Whales in Mumbai
Dancing dolphins

Rain in corona
nature nurtures 
till man unlearns the
savage song of civilization
and learns to live with 
Each day as a surprise,
Each dawn as a sunrise.

Love life to give.

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