Poetry: Mandakini Bhattacherya


A double tetractys
broomstick through
wide-jawed chimney,
A coral-feathered jet-streaming banshee,
hunkers in the rustling gloom of fancy,
sprinkling totems,
till Mom flicks
the light

(Based on Abanindranath Tagore’s Khirer Putul or ‘The Doll of Condensed Milk’)

In the noon-day heat,
the rich-poor Queen
boils milk in a pot
on an oven of tin.

Sheds tears, and laughs,
and asks the Thing,
in the corner biding —
“Who art thou, Foundling?”
“I am Monkey-Prince,
bought with a farthing.”

“I am not here, nor there,”
he mentions with glee.
She looks under the bed,
he is up on the tree.

“Magician, trickster,
conjurer am I;
I weave tapestries
of gossamer cavalries,
I build canopies
that dazzle the eye.”

“Pied Piper of dreams,
I lead all athwart;
and in my schemes
plays a part
this doll of condensed milk.”

“I juggle narratives
and kingdoms at random;
and when I pull strings,
hearts run in tandem.”

For, behold! The Queen
ousts the bewitcher!
Faithless king repents,
seeing heir to the future;
children of all hues
play merrily along;
in the Land of the Goddess
without barriers throng!

Bio: Mandakini Bhattacherya, from Kolkata, is currently an Assistant Professor of English (Stage 3) at Fakir Chand College, affiliated with the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India. She is a multi-lingual poet composing in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali, literary critic and translator. She has presented papers at various international and national seminars. Her scholarly articles have been published in international and national journals, and also in books. Her poems have been published by international and national anthologies and journals like Better Than Starbucks, The Dotism Journal, The HyperTexts, Poetry Nation, Hayati, Sahityanama, Different Truths and LangLit. She was awarded the Philosophique Poetica International Achievement Award ‘Master of the Word’ in recognition of her poetry by Philosophique Poetica and Grand Productions Canada at the World Poetry Conference, Bathinda, Punjab, in 2019. She was invited by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi and participated in the All India Young Writers’ Meet organized by it in February, 2020. She is Associate Editor of the ‘Muse of Now Paradigm’ anthology (Authors Press, 2020).

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