The Tune of Deth

when peace rides the
edge of a sword,
clashes of steel
nary a raindrop falls,
blood soaked ground
does not nurture,
withers the rosebud,
malnourished child suckles
the dried nipples of
a dying mother’s
shriveled breasts,
a drop of milk
as elusive as
promised peace.

march in the
merchants of death,
in search of an oasis,
they turned the land
into a desert,
the rosebud long ago
turned to dust,
as the sightless
eyes of the child
scours the heavens,
the charlatans raise
their glistening swords
to the sky,
in paeans to an almighty absent.

somewhere alone in his den,
a poet sheds a
few drops of crocodile’s tears,
the feeling genuine,
an effort futile,
not one heart will be touched,
no parched land made fertile,
no rosebuds will bloom,
no milk shall wet the
thirsty lips,
the world will go its way,
as the seekers of peace,
blinded by hate,
bow their heads at the alters
and dance to the tune of death.

The poison I drank

In silence I suffer
The poison I drank,
Heart weeps lonely,
Tears run dry,
Afraid eyes may not lie,
I gaze at stars
At dead of night,
Words are damp
’cause my tears
rained on them,
Empty heart
Comes up barren,
When asked to give;
What value is
This life
That neither gives
Or takes,
Days pass by
As I merely survive;
Gently do I tread,
Walk to the grave,
Is lonely one;
At journey’s end waits
A cold embrace,

The lament of the Grape

Plucked from my mother,
Thrown with my kith and kin,
My flesh,
Crushed and pressed
In dark dungeons,
As my blood flowed into
Wooden barrels,
To be aged,
Bottled and corked,
And be sold, and
As you open the bottle,
And pour,
You sniff my blood
And exhale, satisfied;
And my blood touches
Your lips,
And you swirl it, slowly,
Ever so slowly,
You sip,
As my blood course
Down your throat,
The sugar courses
Through your vein,
And the warmth radiates
Through your body,
Don’t pontificate that
I didn’t feel any pain.
In your satisfaction
Lies mine,
Remember, for your satisfaction,
I gave my life,
Acknowledge it,
And my sacrifice, my life,
Won’t be in vain.
But never again do say,
I didn’t feel any pain.

this poem is the result of a lively discussion between vegetarian and non-vegetarian in a WhatsApp group.

The numbers game

The numbers are slowly turning to names,
At first distant, some known for their work,
Some were friends of friends,
Some distant relatives that (I) never met,
The stream is becoming a rivulet, soon may become a deluge,
While the enemy silently runs amock,
Powers to be are busy with their games,
The names are still numbers to them,
Their priorities are askew, they don’t feel the pain,
They fear more losing their grip on power,
Elections and campaigns are their fun,,
Till the names at the end of the numbers are their own,
Oh heaven, why have you opened your floodgate so wide,
Have the lost souls abandoned you,
And you are filling your coffers playing the number game?

The second wave, if one can call it that, of COVID-19 has become rampant in India. Government that had become complacent was caught with its pants down. Everyday news from home carries names of people that I knew. Some I had met, some I wanted to, some I haven’t. This poem is just a cry of anguish.

Taunt of Time

with all due respect to where it belongs, a tongue in cheek poem dedicated to the pedagogy of time.

I just wanted a lead,
A straight shot to her heart,
Wanted just a few minutes
Of her time,
But she had none;
She gave me a book,
A small one to read,
Only one equation, she said,
Told me once I understood well,
Come back and need to tell,
The story of the book,
A Brief History of Time.

Never in my life I thought
I would hate someone,
Who was dead and gone,
Oh Hawking,
Was that your way of
Having fun,
To tinker with time?
Days have turned into nights,
From the time
I was given the book,
Time stood still for me,
Taunting me day and night.

I read and read,
And then read again,
And tried to understand;
Who defined brief,
Nothing brief about time,
Except the few moments
That I asked from her, and the
Much shorter time
I was dismissed,
Time just flies.

Now I even dread to understand,
And go back to her,
As time ticks and taunts,
I fear if she hands me
A long history of time to read,
Life will pass by,
Time will fly,
And before I have my
Brief moment,
My time with her,
It will be time for me to go,
And meet Hawking
With his book in hand,
Ready to drill into my head,
The concept of time,
Either brief or long.

How can eternity be brief?
I am no Einstein,
But Hawking is wrong,
There is nothing brief,
About time;
Don’t get fooled by those
Big words,
(or are they the big bangs),
Lest you end up in
A black hole;
Ah, I feel enlightened,
And I feel brave,
As I get ready to meet
My love,
and proclaim,
When I am ready to
Be with you
From here to eternity,
And beyond,
There is no meaning to
The brief history of time,
Let the dead rest in peace,
Till eternity beckons.

Life and Death

Crimson is the sky,
Twilight creeps,
Dusk crawls across,

Is it so,
As life ebbs,
Will darkness crawl?

Fingers of light shoot,
Gently rises the sun,
Dawn rushes in,

Free of the body,
Floats free,
Unknown beckons,

A new beginning,
Chaos reigns supreme,
Busy for what?

A series of steps,
Mundane and exhilarating,
Exhausted, long wait,

Shall go on writing my poems

Today is World Poetry Day. Seven years back, after a break of nearly five decades, when I again picked up the pen to write, I didn’t know that such a day even existed. I won’t have known today also but now that I am in Facebook, how will I be allowed to forget.  So I paid my dues and posted a poem on my wall (or is it timeline) written in my mother tongue Axomiya (Assamese). I just now translated the poem to English. Posting both the poems here.

Pearls of words,
In solitude, drip;
Hear a sweet celestial melody
by the side of the creek,
As the crickets chirp.

In the distance
A bird unknown,
A melancholy tune sings,
Nature resplendent in advent of spring,
Spreads a carpet of vibrant green.

I wait for the
rose bud to bloom,
Maybe in her petals are hidden,
The words that will make
My poem sing.

The gentle breeze whispers
In my ears,
What secrets does she say;
I know not what melodies I hear, as
My heart dances in joy.

Nary a rain cloud in the sky,
Frogs gone berserk in expectation,
I listen intently, in silence
I may hear,
The words of my poem crescendo.

I wait with a string in my hand,
If solitude rains pearls of words,
Gently shall I pick them up,
A necklace I shall string, and
Go on writing my poems.

ৰচি যাম মোৰ কবিতা

নিৰ্জনতাত ঝিৰ ঝিৰ কৰি সৰে
শব্দৰ মুকুতা মণি,
জুৰিৰ দাতিত জিলিৰ মাতত,
সৰগীয় মধুৰ ধ্বনি।

দূৰৈত শুনো কোনো অচিন পখীয়ে
গাইছে বিহগ ৰাগিনী,
বসন্তৰ আগমনত সাজিছে প্ৰকৃতি,
সেউজ ঘাঁহৰ দলিচা খনি।

অপেক্ষাত ম‌ই ফুলিব কেতিয়া
গোলাপৰ কলিটি,
আছে জানো লুকাই তাতে,
মোৰ কবিতাৰ শব্দ মাধুৰী?

জুৰ মলয়াই কাণে কাণে মোৰ
কিনো কথা কয় গোপনে,
নাজানো মই শুনো কিনো সুৰ,
নাচে আনন্দত হৃদয় ঘনে ঘনে।

আকাশত দেখো নেদেখোঁ বাদল,
বৃষ্টিৰ আশাত ভেকুলী পাগল,
কাণ পাতি শুনো ম‌ই কিজানিবা নিৰ্জনতাত,
শুনো মোৰ কবিতাৰ শব্দৰ মাদল।

হাতত লৈ এনাজৰী আছোঁ বহি মই,
নিৰ্জনতাই বৰষে যদি শব্দৰ মুকতা,
আলফুলে বুটলি গাঁথিম মালাধাৰি,
ৰচি যাম মোৰ কবিতা।.


O’ ye in the wild,
Is it wise
For the wild
To trust human,
And be deceived
By his treachery?
Alas, in that faith
Is written
Its doom,
For sure
As the sun rises
In the east,
Betrayal will follow soon.

Beware ye all,
The denizen of the wild,
On the altar of progress,
Humans have sacrificed
Their future,
And in the rush
To escape the confines
Of their only home
They have known,
Everything that stand
In their path of greed
Are collateral damage.

Happily they march
To their oblivion,
These masters of none,
And in their ignorance,
Destroy the only heaven
They have ever known.

Free bird caged in a pub

Another poem in a series that I started writing in my mother tongue Axomiya (Assamese) during the pandemic and translating few of them to English from time to time. Hopefully someday I shall be able to compile them in a book or chapbook. Both the English and Axomiya poems are posted below.

A free bird, I roam the blue sky yonder,
O’ doe eyed beauty, you spread your web of love down under,
Seduced, searching for company, hoping for a little love, I was snared,
O’ ye seductress, playful enchantres, in search of a new prey everyday,
Today you must have spread your net in a place far away,
And I, a bird caged, in the confines of an unknown pub somewhere,
Search for hint of freedom in glasses of wine, poured by the bar maid.

পিঞ্জৰাবদ্ধ বন্দী বিহঙ্গম

উৰণীয়া পখিটি মই, মুক্ত মনেৰে কৰোঁ বিচৰণ বিশাল গগনত,
মেলি দিলা ধৰণীত তোমাৰ প্ৰেমৰ মায়াজাল হৰিণী নয়নী,
প্ৰলোভিত ম‌ই সঙ্গসুখৰ, এধানি মৰমৰ আশাত দিলোঁহি ধৰা,
বিলাসিনী তুমি চঞ্চলা মোহিনী, নিতে নৱ চিকাৰ সন্ধানী,
আজি হয়তো তোমাৰ মায়াজাল পাতিছা কোনোবা দূৰণিত,
আৰু বন্দী বিহঙ্গম ম‌ই, আৱদ্ধ কোনো অচিন পানশালাৰ পিঞ্জৰাত,
চাকীয়ে ঢালি দিয়া মদিৰাৰ পিয়লাত বিচাৰোঁ মুক্তিৰ ৰেঙনী।