• The Trident — A Poem

    Susmit Panda

    November 20, 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Image Courtesy: CNN
     

     

    Light leaks from the city's beak, 

    a face crumbles under the glowing Ganges;

    gold and silver plug up the holes

    where spiders spat, lizards hatched

    and destinies cached a twig-

    a hand crackles in the bile of Time;

    Death is a wounded owl hiding somewhere

    behind the midnight of a tree – 

    Death too has eyes; hunger has none!

                                 ***

    Now, as I watch countless lanterns

    waft across the sky, I wonder

    if their flames have been taken

    from the ones still drumming upon that pyre-

    but then, when they dwindle down,

    extinguished, I know they're not;

     

    I look at one at my feet, pick it up,

    tweak it, a sapping metaphor,

    and then, to clear the mess, hurl it

    towards a pack of mutts!

     

    The wind flicks a mean shrug

    while I look at the wind…

                                 ***

    Sujata, your scalp-white palms,

    where are the lines, those hell-marks?

    Where is the rust on your tongue?

    Are you the autumn wetting my window?

    Are you the cloud that shed

    its pollen across Valmiki's verse?

     

    Are you the dew lighting a wreath of moss?

    Where are the claws of your belly?

    Where is the agony in your voice?

    Are you floating in a pool of mudras?

    Have you come seeking a sloka?

    Have you come for a leaf of lotus?

     

    Wherever I tread I leave behind

    nothing but bowls of rice,

    nothing but bowls of rice –

    merciless angel, where are you?


    Author's Note: This poem was conceived on Diwali, based on the recent death of a 11-year old for want of grain.

    Susmit Panda is a student at Netaji Subhas Engineering College, Kolkata.

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