Poetry: Anuradha Mazumder

Anuradha Mazumder

Of Pandemics and Other Demons

I (Now)
I’ve been sunning your mail for two days now,
in the hope of killing the virus, somehow.
My soul is stretched on tenterhooks,
impatient as a crow to snatch your words
away from the disapproving looks,
as the TV blurts out news of a ship
bringing death into a faraway port.
The Corona virus, it says, was on board,
surviving weeks of turbulent sea …
Then out it leapt onto the New Jersey quay.

II (Then)
Black Death too had arrived on ships
in the rich harbours of proud Florence
where Petrarch pined for his Laura
even as the plague ravaged her youth,
claiming beauty and love, claiming multitudes …
rats and rat fleas, soldiers of death, ran amok,
spreading pestilence and doubt and fear
as husband abandoned wife, and mother child,
as bodies upon hapless human bodies piled,
choking the earth, stripped of all the dignity of death.
As the ships wound their tortuous way
through the rivers of Italy, England, Norway
Black Death felled lives with her pitiless sling …
Man was no more the measure of everything.

III (Ever)
Plagues don’t die; they bide their time
In old chests covered in dirt and grime
In cellars full of the choicest wine;
Plagues also lurk in the human mind.

The plague is when we kill and fell
The plague is when in pride we swell
The plague is in the cry of the poor
And the tumult of the soul we daily quell.

The plague is not the boil, nor the pus
Neither bacteria nor virus
The plague is the indifference within us.

Night Thoughts in the Lockdown

On these soul-weary nights I often think
Of gathering all my fears of death
Tying them tight in a tired bundle
And flinging it angrily away

I want to throw it up high so hard
Bending physics and all its laws
That it soars beyond earth’s cold gravity
And flies right past its lonely moon
To collide hard with the asteroids
And be consumed by fiery tongues of flame

And in the dazzling fireworks
That would then light up the night sky
And fill men’s hearts with hope and awe
I shall finally look the disease in the eye


  1. Wow!! Amazed by your writing, Anu!! Such an apt composition of the poignant times.. keep them coming!!

    1. I'm sure you know how much your words mean to me, Suni! Thank you so much, and love you loads. 😊

  2. Anu just short of words as always!
    I find you one of the most powerful fiercest writer of my times.unbiased of my friendship.
    I liked the first one more. It also brought out the rot in our minds and hearts irrespective of pandemic times
    Hope the pandemic will go taking our rot also as it's toll

  3. Your faith in my writerly abilities has always offered me great comfort and encouragement, Debanjali! Really cannot thank you enough for your words, dearest. Much love. Always.

  4. excellent.... becoming your fan.


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