Boudhayan Mukherjee: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Boudhayan Mukherjee, a bilingual poet, author and translator started as student editor and literary secretary of Visva Bharati university. He has been published extensively in journals and newspapers since the mid seventies. His first book of verse "Black Milk" (1990) is followed by five anthologies, a collection of short-stories and books of translations. He has represented Sahitya Akademi at various poetry readings and taught Creative Writing in English at IGNOU. A founder-member and literary coordinator of Srijan, one of the most renowned literary platforms of Kolkata.


POEM of PLANTS

I went to a tree and asked 
What is your name?
He gruffly said, l am Papaya,a male tree.
You are gender biased, I retorted;
No, we have female trees
They bear fruits, I can't.
I went to a plant and asked what is your name dear?
She said sofly, I'm shiuli.
I spread fragrance of autumnal desires.
I went to another flower and asked, what's your name please?
She whispered, people call me Jui,
I have no English name 
But my aroma spreads miles away
Seeking bees and butterflies.
I found a vase of tube roses on a marriage bed.
We are not roses, they chuckled.
You had named us aptly: Rajanigondha nocturnal;
We spread our petals at night, white and pure
When man and woman make love we blush.
Then I went to a tree again,
What's your name please?
Tagore named us Sonajhuri, we spread bright yellow don't yell!
I felt tired and lay flat on a grassy field.
Spiked blue flowers pricked my neckline.
I heard them saying :
A plant out of place is a weed, 
We are weeds that harm your crops.
I buried my face in their soft cradle and kissed the grass flowers
Loving them while they wept, sobbing, don't call us weeds any more.


HOPE

The air smells of gunpowder
Milestones uprooted
Everything swallowed up by sharks
The last few months were traumatic.
Who are you in the stormy night
Come to open the iron cage
To bring down rains
Among thunder clouds
I saw you in the dark room
Lighted by a dim light
I saw you among the crowds
Standing below a lamp post
I saw you on the page of a poetry book
I saw you reflected on my mind's mirror.


CHIRST
(At St Philomena's Church)

I turn my head amidst the pandemic
To see nothing worthwhile and bright.
I have lost many loved ones this year
To get a huge blank loveless nothing.
While I grope for a village
I have in my grip a lonely village
Lost in drowsiness and death --
Waiting to wake up with church bells.
Let them change their fate or destiny
To get the healing peace from Christ.
Amen.


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