My Favourites: Gopal Lahiri

Gopal Lahiri

Introduction

Poetry has a subtlety that uniquely prompts new techniques and language usage. And the image, which Wyndham Lewis refers as 'primary pigment' of poetry, relates to the painterly content of the language. It has an opulent element, a mental component as well. There is something reassuring about the harmony that emerges from the images.  I love to see my poems sink into images and sensations that finally draw out the essence of the composite.

I love to employ many of the forms of poetry, like free verse, sonnet, haiku, senryu, haibun, and prose poem that draw the readers in through the gleam of images and metaphors resulting a distilled poetic mien. The language operates at different ways. I discover in poetry that I am not participating in something which can-not be explained or apprehended by reason or understanding alone. I participate in the imaginary.

It is difficult to select my favourite poems as all my poems are very close to my heart. Some poems stay longer than the others and those are my favourites.

Gopal Lahiri

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Short Bio:

Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer, and translator with 29 books published, (10 books in Bengali and 19 books in English) including six solo/jointly edited books and two joint books. His poetry and prose are published across more than 70 anthologies as well as in eminent journals of India and abroad. His poems are translated in 16 languages and published in 12 countries. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2021, He has received Setu Excellence award, Pittsburgh, US in poetry. His collection of poems ‘Alleys are Filled with Future Alphabets.’ has received Pan Asian Ukiyoto awards in 2022.

 

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Remains

 

1.

 

Almost without noticing

you have arrived and everywhere the light glows,

let your memory drums in the night

let the twilight colours dry

let people come, touch your feet

tell them how the nature divides the country.

 

2.

 

Maybe we know each other better

I read lying down, the book on my chest,

it is the third lung

opening and closing in silence,

memories are all muddled up

and the image is entangled.

 

3.

 

My time is a sad one of collapses

empty coffee pots are on the table

words fold up like bamboo mat

the stars crumble, the dawn opens like dry petals

green leaves are dotted with blood

silence is now both sign and prayer.

 

First published in The Madrigal, Volume II, Roots, Dublin, Ireland, May-June, 2021

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Random Reflections

 

Light drifts, changes,

day rolls into furnace; all fires are fire.

 

Then there is the blank space

The wall clock stops at quarter to nine.

 

A dust storm blows the tiny bird’s nest

The flowers fade, I don’t speak of it.

 

The afternoon shifts to the evening

with crumbly sigh, dimness sinks the needle in.

 

The voice of the winds like any old

memory, strays in the winnowed sand-yard.

 

My diary pages are open all night inside

the dark drawer.

 

And I learn to burrow in the dark yet

I shudder from where the Universe begins.

 

First published in Amythyst Review, May, 2022

 

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Slow Breath

 

Just one way I can immerse my face in

a dreamless sleep by counting moments.

revisit wooden balcony and pull out some

deep memories beneath the ivy plants.

 

My dream meanders, perhaps there is a new

rising for a fur-flung destinations,

someone lights up my face with an oil lamp

shaking up the slow breath.

 

Lights pack the dreams in boxes and find

old letters piling below the windowsill. 

 

I reach for the warmth of the night, now

fierce and demanding, a shawl and a cup

of coffee go together and a silver moon

enters, exits, and die in too much care.

 

First Published in Shot Glass journal, Issue#40, May, 2023.

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Putul Bari (The Doll’s House)

 

The city records scratches and mistakes in silence

colourful mansions reach out to sky

 

striking out the calligraphy on the warehouse wall.

 

Old history papers pile on the archives,

beautiful dolls and lusty babus screening

 

brick and mortar faces, it’s to do with the eyebrows,

 

The warm smell of the wooden doors and frames

red velvet chair, gilt and bronze lampshades,

 

fill with wet memories of Ahiritola ghat,

 

Shuffling down the narrow avenue, the rustle

of quash-squash sound of the animal feet

 

as if it’s the most familiar, most haunting,

 

The cold marble floor erases blood and footsteps,

moments of the gloomy past and the strange sounds,

 

Putul Bari flickers in moonshine to answer the sky.

 

First published in Verse-Virtual, February, 2021

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Soul Music

 

Look at my window.

It’s littered with handprints.

 

hands beckon to each other:

a primeval language

deaf like a stone, a downpour.

so close is your sleep dust eyes

then my mandible on your shoulder, my ear

against yours, our noses pointing away to the cliff.

 

skies now holding various shades of colour

the flowers blossom, fragrance spreads.

the voice of the trees is like any meanders,

sinuous bends, loops, curves, turns,

and finally winding in the channel-

a simulacrum of soul music.

 

First published in Erato Magazine , June, 2022

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Homespun

 

So, what else is new? A narrow

Balcony, two persons cannot sit.

Grandma has the first choice, Grandpa.

stays behind, leaning above the newspaper.

 

Always work with her hands, my mother

picks berries in the garden shade,

some berries fall on her palms,

some berries are collected by squirrels.

 

Father, that’s another word fading now,

not hear any more; words can do that,

the windows of the opposite

buildings are framed in red brick.

 

The blue-ribbon walks on the pavement

smile hovers on her face,

her lover sits unmindfully on the

pile of stones by the roadside.

 

how to keep track of the days, nights,

each one shining, each one alone,

each one then gone.

the house is quiet because it has to be.

 

First published in Dissident Voice, June, 2023

 


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