Poetry: Biswajit Mishra

Biswajit Mishra
Ekalavya’s debt

When the window gave way a little 
after all this time,
even a picture of the sun 
was warming enough 
to encourage me to 
venture out and see—
at least to start turning the head
for the sight to focus 
and to breathe it in
not learning, just sitting by
Now the bee’s hum will
keep humming as the 
Sun’s light will keep warming 
because whatever is 
given is given 
for ever
and for all,
like the rain.

Note: An homage to Louise Gluck on her passing on October 13,2023. Ekalavya is a character in Indian epic “Mahabharat” who learned stealthily from a distance from Guru Drona who was teaching the princes and this learning of Ekalavya was without the knowledge of the Guru and when he was caught, Ekalavya paid the price of learning by cutting off his right thumb which stopped him from being an archer but he paid off the debt.  


Someone posted on Facebook, this year Shivaratri 
coincided with the 
international women’s day
and there was a modernized 
painting of the ardha-naari-shwara 
form of Shiva an androgynous form combining the whole man – 
both male and female but is that all, 
isn’t there more- the plants , the 
animals, birds, insects, stones, 
rivers and their genders, all;
what image can complete it, what image of mine is real?

Yesterday I looked at a lone magpie and I thought I was 
one too, at least aspiring to; 
what do I see of me in my mind, 
I am not sure I know, that’s why the 
mirror surprises me; I might be stuck with the image my 
mother had of me, maybe a bit aged 
to what my wife had when we 
were newly married and then 
what my daughter’s eyes held when I drove her to school.

Shiva, a mythological resident of the Himalayas, 
the bearer of 
the river, the moon, 
the snake, the poison, 
the maestro, the dancer…
the destroyer in the trinity
but each creation has that potential embedded
the birth with death so is 
the world, so am I; what 
else am I doing other 
than destruction
every moment 
when I breathe! What picture will encompass all?

I saw the magpie
it seemed it was just as it was
nothing more, nothing less;
what can be done to infinity
so is Shiva.

Note: Shivaratri  is the festival of Shiva. In 2024 it was on the March 8th. Ardhanaarishwara ( ardha  naaree  eeshwara) is a conjunct word in Sanskrit meaning half male and half female deity. This is one of the forms Shiva is seen in.

Different interpretations with the same meaning 

My friend reads it, hears
almost all my poems 
almost fresh
our actions
and reactions
have become
almost cliches.
When I read to him about my childhood 
with mud walls and bare feet
he sees his childhood home and mitten-less hands.
When I talk about my father
he sees his father
and this goes on and on
sometimes leading to my surprise 
how can that be
and to his too,
in the first place 
how can that be:
I am from a small eastern town in India,
he has always been here in western Canada;
how a story of my wife’s sister
is a story of his wife’s sister!
Yes, now you see.

But I deciphered the clue 
this morning while I was
scooping out avocado 
for guacamole 
for sandwich:
my past has different flavours and 
different spices hanging around
like the halo on the idols—
and he my friend,
he goes straight 
for the gods within.

The world is one family

We believe in it strongly
and we brought it out
from the prayer room 
to our front yard 
and embedded it in the
strong pillars of the gate
so that it’s visible, we
thought we had it hiding
for long and what good was that.

The world is one family
and we know everything 
works in consonance (must)
hence, sun will shine on it
(not fade)
rain will wash the dirt off it
(not wash the paint away).

The world is one family
and we know everyone
works in consonance(must)
and everyone is welcome
everyone should (must) know that
everyone should(must)appreciate that
and then they are part of the family
to sit in our garden
and some may get into the porch—
we know the world has been existing for long
but there’s evolution
for everything and everyone
to become a part of the family.

The world is one family
and we brought that out
from our heart for the world
to see.


Who knows what goes on
during sleep 
It’s like describing god
as is the dream
no amount of articulation 
gets it out fully
but world goes on
sometimes worlds go on
in one night or day;
only the aftertaste—
again hard to tell
hangs on through 
the upheavals.

There are books that say
it eventually levels out
as though a wistful thought 
or could it be dependent upon
how high the shot is taken from.

Bio: Biswajit Mishra writes poems predominantly in English and sporadically in his native language Odia writing generally about nature, animals, plants, spiritual concepts, families, and travel experiences. Born in India and having lived in Kenya, Biswajit and his wife Bharati currently live in Calgary, Canada.

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