Poetry: Lopamudra Banerjee

Lopa Banerjee

[Written in response to Nobel Laureate of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore’s famous lines-‘let my crown languish in the dust of your feet, 'O let my pride be drowned in tears'] 

Bowing is an art
I didn’t have to learn,
Swept by the unfathomable tide.
I’ve been a minuscule drop,
A scar tissue of invisible pain,
An atomic dust moving in my own orbit,
Why then, was I fashioned thus,
A smorgasbord of incorrigible wants?
Picking up my pen in the dark,
Writing pithy stories with my inconsequential ink,
I have all my strength to wait, whisper and burn.
Truths burst open and walk in now and then,
But I am swept with the wind-drift, a dust speck
In the dark. What if my lacerated skin bleeds?
There, out in the open, they die of colossal wounds,
Giant, blackened tides blow away continents at a time.
Bowing is my art of a hummable melody,
As I lean over the yellowed, brittle pages
Of a musical bible, a final pledge and a demand
Before my habitual world, swollen with nothingness
Blurs as an inevitable finale in front of my surrendering eyes.
Bowing, the final song of renunciation
That my bard reminded me, when it rained,
And all mammoth desires melted, weather-washed, homeless.
“Amar matha noto kore daao he tomar charono dhoolaro pore.
Shokol ohonkar he amar dubaao chokhero jole."
Bend my proud, vain head in humility,
Let it melt with the dust of your holy feet.
O, let my pride be drowned in tears.

The Mermaid And Her One Night Beau

Far, far away at the terrain of the tidal uproar
Where the sea becomes the mermaid's one night beau,
Her stories slide and sway, swept up by the ruthless lyrical riot.

She knows the Phoenix will rise and fly around 
Only for a dreamy, unreal day.
Her love-words will fling from unforeseen crannies, 
unfolding their soft petals. 
But hey, the darkness of rooms, sterile, whispering, 
Is only a night drive away. 
And even if the rains explode with the sonata of the birds, 
It is only her heart's untamed orgasm
Which will shrink, dissolve in tea cups and unnamed sighs 
In a sheltered home the very next day. 

Mad, fraudulent, she dips her fingers in the sea's fervent womb
And the rain seeps into the moonbeams of her breasts. 
She knows her blood will soon ease into domestic broths and unwashed linen. 
While her footprints will die in the sand, and the sea.  


My grief is green with the scum of stories. 
I wish it would rise from the buoyant dark of my neck 
Like old, unfiltered bile,
Spread across my trails 
like liquid tales of desperation. 
But like a steady, insistent rhythm,
It stays on in my zillion caustic breaths,
The green settles in my poison-friendly throat 
And I sink, in daily dribbles, in the rubble of my chores. 
The green, they say, is the color of melancholy. 
Unanimously, they contend and I know
My skin peels itself, loosening over the edge. 
My melancholy stream dances within my rims and crests,
I am a mountain of cracked earth and raging silence 
Overlooking a green river where unseen fungi 
Of a warrior woman stretch across continents. 

Song of the Road

Note: Written on route Texas gulf coast while we were travelling to South Padre Islands in Texas, USA. 

My legs dangle in the car
In the seat, I settle, awkward
The jagged outlines of
the interstate and the green
On both sides lighting up
Like tattoos.
Bollywood Hindi refrains
Gyrating, recycled, served up
Like frothy, milky chai
in old, verdant train stations
remembered with a child’s eagerness.
In our mouths, between
Our silences outstretched
And our tongues sticking out
Parched, tame, scanning
The flatlands and the ripples
We seek out our
love song for the road,
The tangy, sour essence
of the small towns
That ebb and flow with
the shrill rain,
the murky flood waters,
The turmeric-stained sunlight
That we taste, bubbling,
resting on our backs.
The tires push down the
Buttery roads and I am
Wrapped in the childhood raincoat
Where the playlist
of the songs become
Promises, vows, stillness grasped.
In the mirror, strands of hair
Dance to the orchestra
Like pesky birds,
Grey, trampled, bronzed
With colors, behind a veil
Of shrinking, errant drapes.
The wind and the light outside
A thin stick of pungent smoke
I inhale like a stealthy lover
On our way back home.
Soon the roads, robust
Against our limp bodies
Will bend and waltz,
Tweak and twirl, to
the stairs leading home.
In the brown, saucy night sky
Our road songs,
ingrained, left behind,
will jump, float away
in scattered lines. 

All My Plain, Earthen Songs

All my plain, earthen songs
Crafted in the paraphernalia 
of today’s glittering pearls. 
Drifted by the wayward wind,
Peeling off, taking flight. 
I have floated like an autumn leaf
Between the luscious perimeter of continents. 
My eyes have taken refuge in the broken lyrics,
The exploding between terminals. 
Let me go haywire and torn, 
Sucking it all in, for I know
Tomorrow when I will be gone,
My crushed visage, burnt away 
Will be an urn of ashes, soaked
With the fire and earth 
Of these self-same songs.

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