Poetry: Laksmisree Banerjee

Laksmisree Banerjee

Dear Woman,
we hang from the boughs of
the same tree of un-tasted succulence
along zig-zag tracks of unknown tangles
as the bride-calling Bird
awakens me mellifluously
in my bridal attire and bower
entangled in the breeze of 
fully unfulfilled dreams ---

enmeshed in the strains of 
long-lasting lost desires
of dense forests
long before we knew each other 
as sisters in no man’s land
or perhaps long before
we danced hand in hand in no woman’s land,
brewing in interludes of scorching coffee breaks
myself already poisoned by 
the fruit of knowledge
still clinging to our age-old Elysium
beyond its gates of banishment ---

the golden clouds have long ago
melted into the delirium
of the darkness of nocturnal trees,
much before you ripened into

the fallen mango 
splattered on ground                                                          
its putrid juice of unrequited love
I lived through this long story of survival
much before you my dear sister,
I knew the silken reverie
we have always woven
to play our roles wrapped around
in our dead silk worms
still emitting glow in living deaths ---

I hemmed into my life of
history’s blank pages with
bitter sweetness
a frolicsome masquerade,
now flooding across with
cascades of tearful amnesia
perhaps much before you,
perhaps much later than her ---

but now, like you, I have found myself,
lived in alien lands as my own,
sprouting with new leaves
in painful transplantation,
geo-spaces and temporality,
rivers, rocks and seas
now bland in the sameness
of dark and light,
dear sister we are very much alike

in our vain equipoise of    
a suave, customary compromise ---                                      
yes we are now united and ignited
in self-discovery of our own paradise regained                                 
in our belligerent making,
in eons of undeterred womanhood
sculpted in artistry through hammer and anvil,
as wisely beautiful as the singing river
breaking its way through stones into the sea,
drenched in dreams yet not soggy ---

you and I the sturdy, all-encompassing banyan tree
not seeking but giving shade
as strong as the earth
as omniscient as the ether
as inflamed as the fire
as inspired as the wind
as amorous as desire
as fierce as the hurricane
as soft as blooming love
as liberal as the sky ---

We celebrate here and now
our womanhood timeless,
our hot-springs welling out
of the flinty no man’s land,
our greenery peeping out of crevices
of jagged elemental rocks,

we have made our quilts, woven our yarns
to clothe the dark secrets of the world ---

Now we stand together
bare, unfurled
at the still point of history ---


I made a doll of the passing day
to gift it to my girl the other day ---

I made her braids with the tangled green
of dense embracing rain forests ---

I made the lilting streams wrap around her
liquid feminine beauty of allurement ---

I made the moonlight her satin golden skin
I made the candy floss clouds her bright smile ---

I made the rainbow her glistening raiment
I made the starry skies her sequined veil ---

I made the blossoming garden her coronet of flowers
I made the empyrean her illimitable world of dreams ---

I made the sun glow to bedeck her fairy forehead
At last I gave this doll to my blissful girl
To make our instant of love Eternity.


Ah can you not hear the hoarse cries of 
the approaching torpedo?
The suppressed grunting of the angry thunder?
The incinerating rage of the lightning 
in blossoming gardens?
Can you not see the outstretched arms
of wailing green branches
Reaching out to the school-bagged, uniformed children
Walking side by side for their morning 
prayers in classrooms?
Those that you push into battle gear
with hazardous guns
Those that wallow in fury
of uncontrolled angst
You convert schools into war zones
splattered with soft cherry blood
Lobbies steeped in crime and greed
for arming children with guns of death
Rather than books of life?
O you creed of super-powerdom
May you become one of peace and love
To sustain the whiteness of your doves ---

Inhuman hate-clad hubris in loose strings
Spectral terror of the darkest purple clouds
Floating above in aimless dislocation

Rudderless un-reigned juvenile wrath
In the clutches of gun-toting monstrosity
In zones of misplaced machoism
From Texas to California
From Florida to New York
To usurped unloved reckless wrath
As forests and multihued rainbows weep
Shedding blood and tears in mutilation
In a land of unabated guns of annihilation
Shattering ceaselessly tender leaves
Of blooming buds in disarray
Nettled in thorny fogs of unwashed simplicity
Prodded in disenchantment to kill and shatter
Beauty of tumescent new lives ---

Ah the dissolved souls and fainted cries
The muted reverberations die across the ocean
As life becomes a toy of unbridled cruelty
Smothered forever in silence
In the precincts of innocence ---


Dear Friend ---
have you ever seen
those mushroom clouds
mirrored in the graphics
of moist eyes?

have you ever seen
blood splattered tomatoes
spilling, spouting in agony
gurgling out of 
puny wrenched bellies
of gunned down
erased innocence?

have you ever seen
those naïve moths deluded
in cavernous delight, dying
in their vain search for light?

have you ever seen
body-bags of unsuspecting bravery
flung out of hospitals and frontlines
thrown into riverine ashes?

have you ever seen
that dreary, desperate haze
of shattering shells
in bombed towns and villages?

have you ever seen
the musk rose wilted
torn and grounded
stamped dead under
the boots of cannon-cruelty?

have you ever seen
peoples, dogs, rats running
helter skelter
scrambling for life and shelter
in misty fields of smoking uranium 
alive still in death?

have you ever seen
that dying child gasping
in the lap of a dying mother
begging for life in the detritus
for the alms and arms
of some unknown god?

have you ever seen
a burnt body, a burnt mind
a scorched young soul
in the embrace of 
a wailing woman in wilderness?

No my dear friend
you have never seen these scenes
even in dreams ---

life has so eluded you
that you still breathe in masked sheen
in lounges, parlours, conditioned salons
drawing rooms of endless babble
and gibberish, glitzy gossip
as life passes you by covertly
with padded paws
as love leaves you forever in the lurch
and fervent humanity slips away
in all its scented miasma
through the ornate hour glass

in evasion and treachery
in the gaudy darkness you chose
till the last explosion!

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