Boudhayan Mukherjee's Poems
There are some people you love and many you
don't even notice as they pass by seeking solace.
A person does not belong to a place
until a close kin is dead and underground;
he is always adrift through an unexplored region
of your memory. A web of pretext, evasions like a gnat
evading a storm, the thick sunlight too
cannot prevent his omnipresence, the soft footfalls of my sire.
The sea too has its magical corals deep inside
as I have my intestine, liver, appendix, atman.
I have also in my grip a village lost in drowsiness,
the flaccid cheeks or a fleeting instant when I go back
to the same decrepit man of years past,
a prodigious creature under the tamarind tree
playing with an umbrella and his grandson.
I had trimmed my wife, offshoots all, like a lemon tree
to bear this fruit. Oh how well she managed the pain,
I would remember during my next life,
So precise shall be my stare
that the wall will drill a hole,
the noise of whistles and the drum
will bear ambiguities, sprout pleasant moments when
I shall discourage explanations and see the yellow
butterflies borne by the breeze, their wings resting.
And of my father in ashes underground, I will remember
his nails growing bigger everyday as the workers
retreat to their family, an involuntary exercise.
But his chest was a bellows when he died and he tried
to say something which nobody heard.
What did he whisper—oh God, what?
Sound of Hugging Rains
My day has not scaled new heights
My skies blackened by morbid clouds....
My midnight is sobbing
A pre-monsoon storm has hit the sky
The heart painful, broken bouts of sobs
Make the world shiver and tremble.
On this side of the sky
I want a whiff of air
Want to spread my ten fingers
And touch the wet earth in secret love....
Now that the night has not ended
I long for rest.
No sounds, I smell no desires
I travel in dreams
Through a street of long-tongued dogs
Waiting to devour my lust
I faint and stand up amazed
At the skill of my survival instincts.
The secret bed is now strewn
With the sound of hugging rains
The room's getting flooded with water, more water
Soothing water, all engulfing water
A four-chambered heart is pining for love
In this tearful midnight.
I take long strides or short steps
At Somaipur, a small town beside river Ajay
Gleaming with peace of silence at night.
I turn my head to look at Ratanti Kali temple
Or at the trees waving with delight;
I feel the soothing breeze combing my hair.
Loneliness cradles my soul
For I live at Somaipur, friendless—alone.
But I've silence that sleeps on my bed
I've books to read, poems to write
And the birds have taught me new sounds.
I take long strides at night
To reach my small house
The dark and fallow long hours
Waiting to suck me into ever full silence.
Weightless Without You
2 chairs before my dining table
eating, laughing. I sit on one
molest the other. A face straining
inside my stomach
to look out, to pray outside.
Who bought this half-busted Buddha?
Who thought noise is lust?
Who ate his own laughter?
The slow hours of Sunday reveal
the absurdity of the other days
without my child, full-time.
I sing to him Rabindranath,
he doesn't move, he's transfixed
on the chair.
Let's wait and see what awaits
the rest of India and my child.
2 chairs I spoke of will die,
my bones will rot. My ghost will travel
to U.S.A without RBI's permission.
My child, how will it be for me, weightless,
*Rabindranath, India's Nobel laureate in Literature.
*RBI, India's central bank, The Reserve Bank of India.