Lopamudra Banerjee (Children's World)

Lopa Banerjee

Ode to Sweet Dreams and Fairy Tales

 

[Written for my daughters, the apples of my eyes, Srobona and Sharanya, on the occasion of their transition from elementary to middle school, quite a few years back.]

 

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty waltz with their prince charmings

In the painted carnival of cherry blossoms and butterflies,

In the wonderland of your dreams, sweet dreams,

Every starry night, where I behold you in your silky slumber…

 

With tender kisses and cuddles,

I seal my enduring trust in your tiny bodies–

My mind, a wanderer in the dark, lustful world,

Yet craving to embrace your sweet nothings….

 

Soon the wonderland of your dreams will fade away,

The mud and soil of this giant world will surround you,

Howl in your ears to grow up, let go.

Let there still be room for the serenity and magic of your dreamland,

Let the fragrance of human love and life be yours’ still,

In the vain world where you may open your eyes tomorrow.


 

Dancing in the Rain                                                               

 

[Dedicated to the children blossoming from the soot and dirt of the fringes, the young petals that rise from the ignominy of their existence to transform their beings, leaving a legacy of hope behind.]

 

Dream children of the city’s fringes, dancing in the rain

Scattered splotches of nomadic desires jumping over puddles.

Pitter-patter songs on monsoon skins regale, triumphing over pain,

Blisters and burns achingly trail, the rain dance, giggling over hurdles.

 

‘Cursed be your tribe’, they are jeered at, ‘Dirty, lowly-borns!’

Rain-sheltered schoolchildren and shiny custodians peer through car windows.

In their squeaking, wild cacophony, a symphony emerges from a bed of thorns,

In the madness of the binary world, a concoction of mutant screams comes and goes.

 

‘Let us rain, in droplets, in huge torrents’, they say, ‘Breaking our shackles’,

Crawling out of shanties, war-torn walls, a liberation dance hugs the tattered soil.

Refusing to swim in buried, faceless dreams, in a whirlpool of squabbles,

They sprout, nameless, nondescript buds, shooting up from the earth’s turmoil.

 

Crossing the threshold of eons, ages, stubborn shines the blood from their ruptures,

Protean powers come and go, yet victory in their unmapped paths, certainly lingers.

 

Innocence Screams
 
[A dirge for the postmodern world and the children writing their own histories in this world.]
 
A wispy wind uttering secrets at night,
Soft murmurs hovering over a silent earth,
Howling voices of haunted longings and despair,
Scars deep in the soul, muttering and whispering
The red rose wounds of battered infants dying
And living, breathing pain on streets of cold….
 
I stand alone among heaps of discarded dirt,
In a wasteland of screaming silence and barren shadows
And listen to the lullabies of a soft baby skin,
Straining through the solemn frost of a stony earth,
I follow the voice of an angel carrying divine autumn whispers;
Crossing lonely, dark streets, a sob breaks from my chest
To see a fallen tear, the want of an embrace,
The warmth of tiny fingers in soft caresses
Crushed in brittle dust.
 
Blessed be the mother’s bosom that cuddles and aches,
Blessed be the darkness of empty chests and frozen pain.
Blessed be the crimson blood of the cherubic babe
Seizing its way through dark corners of the heaving womb.
Blessed be the smile of the little boy that dances in the rain
In rasping joys, in the city streets of scarlet pain.
Blessed be the flickering flames of innocent lives
Crushed and battered by bullets under azure skies.
Mothers giving nectar and tender beds of care
Mothers giving the softest music and rhythm of life
To sleepy eyes, fragile bodies and rosy red cheeks
Dissolve in shadowed rooms in a stormy deluge.
In a different deluge, endless mothers breathe and live
In streets of cold, with cracked lips and despaired tears.
Blessed be their feet that walk through sand and freezing ice.
The life that lies ahead in a soiree of blossoms for the golden girl,
Calls out the hapless kids in dust and soot,
Calls out in hunger, eagerness and pain.

 

 

Bio Note: Lopamudra Banerjee

Lopamudra Banerjee is an acclaimed Indian author, poet, translator, editor from Dallas, Texas, with eight books and six anthologies in fiction and poetry. She has received the Journey Awards (First Place category winner) for her memoir ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’, Woman Achiever Award (IWSFF, 2018), the International Reuel Prize for Poetry (2017) and International Reuel Prize for her English translation of Nobel Laureate Tagore’s selected works of fiction (2016). Her nonfiction essays, fiction and poetry have been published in various renowned journals, e-zines and anthologies in India, UK and USA including Stanford University’s ‘Life in Quarantine’ project. 


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