Naina Dey: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Naina Dey is a critic, translator and creative writer. Her books include Macbeth: Critical Essays, Edward the Second: Critical Studies, Real and Imagined Women: The Feminist Fiction of Virginia Woolf and Fay Weldon, Representations of Women in George Eliot’s Fiction, Macbeth: Exploring Genealogies, Snapshots from Space and Other Poems and translation of Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury’s Gupi Gain O Bagha Bain. She was awarded the “Excellence in World Poetry Award, 2009” by the International Poets Academy, Chennai. Her latest publications are One Dozen Stories, a volume of translations and a poetry volume titled Homing Pigeons and sundry stuff.



Jog Falls, Karnataka


In the pitch darkness

Of a night of spirits and dak bungalows

The dim bulb lights us up

Showing flimsy wooden banisters


A deep chasm below

Resounding with the roar of a gigantic monster

Risen from a murky swamp

Ever advancing

Drenching us with droplets

As the Jog rushes through our hair


Tossing in our beds

The whole night

We hear the monster howl and stamp outside

Till daylight

When beauty is revealed in all its splendour

The king and the queen with their two retainers

Cascading down the precipice

A rainbow peeking out

Like the lopsided tiara in the hair of a reclining nymph

Waiting for her lover

Drowsy with the scent of sandal

From the woods where serpents twine

And the hills hug the sky.



National Gallery, London


Inside the mangle of tourists and passageways

Halls leading to halls

I hunt down old friends

Titian, Turner, Manet


The rain pours outside

Blinking little stalls

Selling souvenirs shielded by translucence

The warmth of coffee and tuna sandwich


At the museum shop

Michaelangelo, Van Gogh hang in lockets and keyrings for a discount

I peer at the coins the shop boy counts for me

Tiny packets of bargains

To be taken home as memories.


Happy Birthday!


You cut a lava cake today

To celebrate my birthday

A knife slicing a chocolate heart

Drip drip went the chocolate

Staining doilies

Messing bedclothes

I puke as you sit contented

Your cheeks bloated with chocolate

Baked for the wrong day






You take me to shops of branded shoes

And silk bomkais

Your pockets jingling change

We settle for kati rolls and false promises

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