Urna Bose (Voices Within 2023)

Urna Bose is an award-winning advertising professional, writer, poet, editor, and reviewer. Her poetry has gone viral, globally. She won ‘The Enchanting Editor Award 2019’, from the Telangana Poetry Forum, and the ‘Women Empowered - Scintillating Creative Impactful – Feminine Power Inspiration Award 2020’. And the prestigious Nissim International Prize for Poetry, 2021. As the Deputy Editor for Different Truths, she also devotes her time to the ‘Poet 2 Poet’ column. Urna’s advertising campaigns have won both Indian and global creativity awards, and some are even industry case studies. Urna believes that soulful poetry and gooey chocolate cake can fix everything.

 


Why a Peace Poem Must Die

 

The peacock must have its mating dance,

the gulmohar, its red, hot rage.

Honesty must have its tail tucked

between its hind legs, crouched

behind the trembling bush. 

Lest fate gets handed out nimbly: a deer

caught in the headlights - ready for the clicking

cameras of a hoard of spectator-sport tourists.

 

Pink-plumaged flamingos crash landing on an

indolent swamp, a reminder that seasons are

caravans as are politicians, cultivated points of view,

and elaborately drawn-up party manifestos. 

That blood-plumaged wars cannot be left behind

in the pages of a yellowed history textbook,

priced Rs 210, moth-eaten in a rickety stall

in College Street, Kolkata.

 

And, the reason why a peace poem cannot hoist

a white flag on its whimpering chest,

the blaze breaking through the pores of its skin, 

is only because its voice will be gagged,

its throat cut out in fine, fleshy juliennes,

at the phantom hour of its publication.

 

 

The Fate of a Poem

Wrapped in the sullen darkness

of the moss-laden room, a hollowed hankering

gathers – an imminent Kalbaishakhi upon its chest,

the poem ponders on the gap between loneliness

and aloneness - how far must one

travel to shapeshift into the other.

 

Cautiously choosing which side of the

serrated fence to lay bare its fatigued haunches,

having learned the arduous rules of the waiting game.

And yet, not quite - to be read or not to be read

is battle enough, an aching breadcrumb of

remembrance is too far a cry.

 

Swallowing down in its blue-veined throat,

the throbbing hope to be held in your hands,

the longing to be gazed at from behind a softened iris.

Read and re-read for its syntax, semiotics, cadence, nuance,

to be uttered by your lips, its sallow gawkiness

slowly smudging into the printed white page.

 

Yet, it now negotiates these heaving expectations

quelling its hunger rising from the starvation vortex

and signs on the dotted line of the realty agreement

for a single, lone room in your consciousness.

No, it dares not dream of an apartment, a penthouse,

or a bungalow even, with manicured lawns.

 

A maimed dream is a translucent wing yanked out of

the tendon of a flailing limb, the poem can tell by now.

So it quietly settles for a room with a jagged window,

a tendrilled bougainvillea may languidly stray over

its frayed edge, its Wordsworthian heredity battling

the virulent 21st-century dwindling readers’ focus.

 

And it resignedly whittles down into this room on lease,

till a minute later, another poem proclaims it can

out-pay the paltry lease, and that very

absent-minded moment, you also turn the page,

declaring the poem, a refugee,

stripped off the home of your attention.

 

*Kalbaishakhi - Also known as a nor'wester, is a localized shower and thunderstorm that occurs in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tripura, Assam, and West Bengal during summer.

 

 

My Grandfather’s Ancestral House

I’m a derelict house,

dressed in creaking staircases,
the haunting and the haunted are

interchangeable often.
The pin, I can’t share on your

updated Google map app, but

I invite you in with purple jacaranda

kisses on your nape.
My fleshy arms - the dead porch,

belly button - the trap door.

My heart - the attic between

your fingers where mine
couldn’t slip in, and so

the windchime ghosts came to rest.
My eyes, the forgiving

messiah full-moon, dropping pins
in the nooks and crannies I’ve scribbled

my half-poems in, now I make

my own map of atonement for you,

to trace your homecoming.

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