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Boudhayan Mukherjee's Poems

Pale Musings

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,

without you?

*Rabindranath, India's Nobel laureate in Literature.

*RBI, India's central bank, The Reserve Bank of India.


Unique poems; full of depth

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