Voices Within: Jharna Sanyal

Jharna Sanyal, was Professor of English, Calcutta University. She is a painter and a creative writer who writes in both Bangla and English. Besides her contribution to various journals and magazines, she has a collection of poems, The Nomadic Trail, (2019) and a collection of translations, The Magic Web and Other Stories: Ashapurna Devi on the Widow and her World (Orient Longman 2012). Her current passion is to experiment with mixed language poetry. She had edited 19th Century Poetry and Prose: A Selection, (Macmillan, 2002) and co-authored Narratives of Frailty: Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and the Colonial Encounter – An Alternative Mode of Hindu Self fashioning (Dasgupta & Co., 2008).


Words

I light words instead of candles.

They won’t cling to their own bodies...
melting tears to mourn perishable life.
Words burn like phoenix in its pyre,
 rebirth remains a perpetual possibility.
Words burn themselves
 till alphabets flow to become rivers,
 metaphors congeal to form new islands - 
habitats for migratory birds...

The harvest 
is always more than the sum total 
of seeds sown... birds know that.

I gather words green yellow brown 
to light them instead of candles.
***


…and the Hornbills stopped flying
(Hornbill festival stopped for a day after Nagaland civilians’ killing, Dec.2021)

…and the Hornbills stopped flying
men returning from their fields 
with dream of warmth in their eyes, 
of peace and love and a hot plate of rice 
what more to survive…
suddenly felled by the keepers’ spray
 of bullets-the grass turned red 
with the warm blood of the innocents
dusk turned darker, crimson red 
of shame and betrayal.

…and the Hornbills stopped flying

there will be expressions of regrets,
 and promises of high-powered enquiry, 
walk outs… the remainder of all
 political equations -betrayed families
 scraping to rebuild homes
with tears memory and rage.

…and the Hornbills have stopped flying
***

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