Poetry: Boudhayan Mukherjee

Boudhayan Mukherjee
2ND JULY BENGAL FAMINE 1943

What else but a strong desire to love

Pushes me to the brink of insanity.
I hit my head with a solid brick
Men and women enter my house hungry for rice
I see their frail bodies and my wife cries alone
I ask my wife to cook a huge bowl of rice
She tells me to bring a few kilos of rice from the market
I stop my tears and run like a hare
Buy vegetables, onions, potatoes, a kilo
of mustard oil, lentils et al
And rush back home like a great conqueror.

Now, I can smell the fragrance of rice
Boiling in the kitchen, potatoes swimming, lentils laughing.
A huge broth will be prepared with great fanfare
We lay out the food to appease the great hunger
I relish the smell and the mild smile on my wife's face
We don't have a courtyard but a wide verandah
Thirty people in two batches will eat their fill now
Oh, what a beautiful day, what a great occasion!
We have food every day, but these people don't
I'm like a hero today, today is my birthday!

**Bengal Famine 1943 was man made to starve Bengal in order to punish their revolutionaries who fought against British colonizers to free India. I heard about this incident from my late father.
***


LOVE OF LIFE

There's no harm in getting old
But you must do as you are told.
If you have hair left on your skull
Shave it off like a ship without hull
But wear a wig blue red or green
And trinkets in your ear like a teen
You must also flaunt your torn jeans
A guitar but strum not and spill the beans
You must hire a girlfriend half your age
But tell her it's for fun and you're a sage
Now go out for a stroll in a busy street 
Hold her hand it'll be a visual treat
For the young and those getting old
It'll soar the fun of life manifold.
***


FORBIDDEN APPLE

The huge commotion of silence that enters
Into my meditation hour every dawn
Women playing basketball and shrieking 
For points like bloodbath
I curse my male hormones 
That made me different from them 
How can life of this planet be genderless.
Will no life exist if we turn into barren bodies?
The Koel I can hear is calling for spring time 
mating without love
Where the word love is man made
Creation is a product of lust
And love is a jigsaw puzzle 
Of untold miseries since Eve ate the forbidden apple.


Bio: Boudhayan Mukherjee is a treasured Indian English poet, who has been extensively published in major literary journals here and abroad. He has authored five books of poetry, a collection of short stories and six volumes of translations. He taught Creative Writing in English at IGNOU and awarded the prestigious Swyamagata Literary Prize 2022.
 

2 comments :

  1. Beautiful poems. The best one is the famine as backdrop. Priti sanyal

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been following Boudhyayan's poems, Bangla as well as English, on the fb wall for a couple of years. He writes with grace & beauty. Famine 1943 is very poignant and the other two are no less beautiful.

    ReplyDelete

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