Poetry: Gopal Lahiri (Tagore Special)

Gopal Lahiri
How easily the bird flies
(Inspired by Tagore’s Balaka poems)
 
I gaze up and wonder about the enormity of it all,
memory gives me reason to smile,
 
I dream what it’s look like, what can’t be reached there,
yet a culture survives,
 
No need to hurry, this is a day without the daily drift,
the wind is lazy.
 
You can strap my heart, suck away my breath,
a new ease slowly sets in.
 
There are better ways to touch the blue, the cloud is pure
snow, the sun is untainted bliss there.
 
I will sing, not knowing which raga or lullabies,
not knowing,
 
How close I am to the edge, to that place, I wish to go.
not knowing tomorrow,
 
Birds are in flight, go inside and greet the sunlight,
it is itself the revelation,
 
You know how easily the bird flies, how the earth closes
And then nothing- only pure blue.
 
 
Long Hands
(Inspired by Tagore’s short story Balai)
 
 
As I’m called in my deep, most veiled
face, in secretive enclosures and other
places of shelter
where near the soil I smell
earth, firewood and wind.
 
Before I know how to walk among the trees
I stare out the glass window and see how green the
landscape is,
how I walk and walk thinking
the trees extending their long hands, touching my skin.
 
Never hurry though they are,
as if counting and carefully saving my layers of memories.
what I hold in my hand are pure and tender-
fallen leaves collected from the way side,
and the simple breath that keeps me alive.
 
All this must go inside as the deepest thing,
and they go with me everywhere like shadows,
then it’s only the happiness that makes sense
I must wake up with light, speak to the arrays
till they become my voice in every morning.

 

Bio: Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator with 24 books published, including five jointly edited books. His poetry is also published across various anthologies as well as in eminent journals of India and abroad. His poems are translated in 16 languages. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2021. He is the recipient of the Poet of the Year Award in Destiny Poets, UK, 2016, Setu Excellence Award, 2020, Pittsburgh, US and Indology Life-Time Achievement award, West Bengal, India. His latest collection of poems ‘Alleys are Filled with Future Alphabets.’ has received wide acclaim. He has recently edited an anthology of poems ‘Voices Within’, published by Setu publications, US.


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