Poetry: Boudhayan Mukherjee

Boudhayan Mukherjee

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.


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.


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.


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

  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.


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