Poetry: Supatra Sen

Supatra Sen

Winding lanes narrowing 
Often to blind ends
Doors ajar
For seasons and life
Uncurtained windows overlooking
The neighbour’s kitchen
The courtyards 
An interplay of light and shade
Where ringing laughter 
Mingled with clinking utensils
The balcony with intricate grills
Made artistry on the red stone floors
Children with spinning tops
Kites soaring high
Far far above
All drudgery and constraints

Ancient trees wrapped around
The wise old homes
In close companionship
Where lived Life
In time lag
In myriad shades…

 Little voices rattle tables
Vendors join the chorus
‘Chandrapuli’-the coconut delicacy 
‘The key-man’ ‘the quilt maker’
Marking time to precision

Dusk descends
Bells chime from the local temple 
Time to return
To the broken steps of the ghats
Descending to the mighty Ganges
Where street singers in broken voices
Hail the Almighty
Seeking alms

The dimly-lit tea shop
The first creator 
Of the grand ‘Roshogolla’
The theatres 
Consecrated to legends
Now lost
To malls and complexes
The holy Trio
All beckon
To return

Home coming…


I would see her every day
From my window
Hobbling painfully on her walker
To her balcony in the early hours
Bowed to the mighty Sun 
Hands folded… 

She had lived in that colonial mansion
As long as I could recollect
I would wave to her
On my way to school then
She had been one of many 
But now a multitude of stories lived in her
Between fact and fiction
In light and shadow…

Some time spent in sun and seasons
Cooing to pigeons, feeding squirrels
Absently turning 
Worn-out pages of old magazines
And when the shadows lengthened
Or the wind blew too hard
She wobbled indoors
To her retreat

We communicated without a word
All these years
A cheery wave then
In warm greeting
Four decades ago
But with time
The fingers tossed indifferently
Let things be…as they are
We must carry on
Move on…
Till one day
The listless fingers 
Thin and Fragile - intertwined
Lifted with much effort
In the final farewell…

The armchair sways 
To the whispering palms
The sunshine a magic web
With the ‘Golden Shower’
And we
In endless conversation…

Possessions for Posterity

An old toy…or a hidden letter
Among monochrome photographs
Books with frayed pages
Sometimes the handwriting
Or melody of an old favourite
Wafting through time

The feel of dewdrops on earth-stained grass
The plaintive song of the koel
Across paling darkness and silence
The stars that keep watch 
With the crescent moon

The drizzle that persists
On wavy leaf edges 
Of primeval trees with ageless wisdom
Sanctum sanctorum as the tear drop
To clasp the sunshine
Gently within

The lightning 
After the storm has passed
And all is tranquil and cleansed
Rid of doubts and fears
As the light in the Mother’s eyes
At that celestial moment on Mahastami

The lingering fragrance of jasmine
Long after the petals withered
And after each burial
The unwavering faith
That there shall be a renewal…
My children
May you bestow such 
And more
For your posterity…

Earth – Mother

No air 
Nor oxygen
No cure 
Nor healing
Closed doors 
Barred gates
Deserted towns
Barren lives

Now, what ?
What if you’re struck ?
And we unspared…
Who’d take the lead

A long pause…
Then -- as in a trance 
“The Earth…
As always
The Light within
As forever”

A frail figure
Silhouetted against the setting sun
The sunshine
Melting into her being
In a celestial halo
My earth…
My roots…
My wings…


  1. While reading these poems I felt a strange closeness to Supatra's thoughts.Years between her and me have not made anything old or distant.

    1. Thank you so very much ! Means a great great deal...

  2. While reading these poems I felt a strange closeness to Supatra's thoughts.Years between her and me have not made anything old or distant.


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