Poetry: Nishi Pulugurtha

The pen stand on my desk

as I sit thinking of what to scribble -
well, not scribble, but type
i write with pen on paper
far less these days
except when I need to take notes
to list points
to make my shopping list
a things to do list too
yes, that sits on top
of a pile of paper beside my laptop
in a nice harmony
the penstand is bursting
there are many that have gone dry
still there
i think like many things
which we still hold to
useless, unwanted
yet there
- things need to be put in order
amid all the disorder.

And life goes on
i hear his voice for some days now
outside the gate waiting with his cart
vegetables for sale
I reach out from my window
look at his wares
choose what I need
he smiles at me through his mask
tells him his wares are good
he used to deal in old newspapers
that is closed now
like most of the other things
in these times
life, he says, needs to go on
i smile at him as we keep talking
he goes his way.

just beside the window
of the staffroom
is a huge tree
that turns a brilliant yellow
in the hot summer sun
a flashy bright radiant yellow
someone says it is called
badorlathi­ in bangla
tufts of the yellow hang down
green and yellow that shine beautifully
as I look through older photographs
there it is
it must be shining bright even now
just a few less pair of eyes
to exult in its beauty.

Nishi Pulugurtha is an academic and writes on travel, film, short stories, poetry and on Alzheimer’s Disease. Her work has been published in The Statesman, Kolkata, Prosopisia, The Punch Magazine (forthcoming), Kitaab, Café Dissensus, Coldnoon, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Pangolin Review, MAD Asia Pacific, Prachya Review, The World Literature Blog, Tranquil Muse and Setu. She is the author of a monograph on Derozio (2010), guest edited the June 2018 Issue of Café Dissensus and has a collection of essays on travel, Out in the Open (2019)). She is now working on her first volume of poems and is editing a collection of essays on travel.


  1. 'The pen stand on my desk' is a poem that brings nostalgia to my mind, since pen was mightier than the sword, which got changed due to the technological advancements like computer and laptop. The end lines speak of the poet's determination in putting things seemingly useless in order amid all the disorder today.

    'And life goes on' is about the daily life of a vegetable vendor outside the gate waiting with his cart.Quite a simple and ordinary semantic idea, linguistically structured in the same way, depicting the altered ways to earn and live during these pandemic times, as the vegetable seller seen in mask, once who dealt in old newspaper business. As he says, life needs to go on, the readers realise the ultimate reality of human existence.

    'Yellow' is a picturesque poem depicting the huge tree beside the staffroom window of the poet's persona, which is known as badorlathi in Bangla.Her sad realisation is beautifully captured in the conclusion:
    Just a few less pair of eyes
    to exult in its beauty.


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