Poetry Section | Issue XV | April 2016 | Ashvamegh
Welcome to the poetry section of Ashvamegh, Issue XV. Below, you will find the poems from our selected poets for the April 2016 issue. Sharmila Roy is the featured poet of this month. Other poets who have been selected for the issue exhibit quality in their poetry. We hope you will enjoy this issue like previous ones.
Poems by Sarwar Morshed
Introduction to the Poet:
Sarwar Morshed has been writing both in English and the vernacular for over the last two decades. Apart from academic research writings, he contributes columns to local and national dailies. His first book, Husam Uddiner Election Khela, an anthology of belles-lettres, was published in 2009. His debut volume in English, In the Castle of My Mind was published by APPL on the eve of the Ekushey Boi Mela, 2015.
Rendezvous with Words is a much appreciated work on vocabulary by this writer. His volume of poetry Depoeticized Rhapsody has recently been published. Morshed’s books have been reviewed in leading Bangladeshi dailies including The Daily Star, daily sun, The Bangladesh Observer, and in magazines and journals of international repute like Asiatic (Malaysia) and Dhaka Courier.
Rectangular pocketable tiger
What a prime mover you are!
You keep the globe moving
Yet you afford to remain unmoved!
Currency, you the cosmopolitan bridge,
The red-blooded and the blue-blooded
Gladly bank on you sans hubris.
What a mighty leveler you are!
To locusts your alchemy reduce
The ecclesiastically minded and the secular!
The homo sapiens, as the cliché puts it,
Irrespective of nation, caste or creed,
Unhesitatingly woo you, indeed.
O Helen rectangular!
How frenziedly people fight to possess you, dear!
What an archaeological ambassador you are
Transforming yourself into a walletable heritage site!
And you are a fluid icon disseminator
And a peripatetic tourism promoter!
And how jingoistically neutral you are, in terms of gender!
Currency! You are a perambulatory telephone index
And governor-signed, central bank approved billet doux
Soliciting love from belles to beaux.
Currency, great graffiti dynamic
With essence possessionally philanthropic,
You travel from the hands of pariah to priest
Reigning supreme from pole to pole,
From south to north and west to east.
You are a humanist to the core,
Brahmins can touch you and can
Kyasthas, Shudras and many more.
Christians can pocket you,
And Moslems and Buddhists and Jews
For your trans-belief travel who sues?
Cry No More, Penelope
[To RMG girl Rahela whose body and dreams were torn asunder by some lust-crazy, bestial incendiaries in a jungle near Jahangirnagar University]
They weave, they weave
They weep and they weave
Smarting under the persecuting whips –
Verbal, literal or carnal whips
They weep, they weep.
Day-break draws sartorial artists in multitudes –
Locust-like they swarm the streets
To reach the factories before the sun settles well
In its diurnal rounds.
There are no circumstances unavoidable
Reach they must the gates at the hour final.
Sartorial gladiators they are;
Salary they draw but in the
Etymological sense – they are well off
Enough to buy salt.
Eagle-eyed lustful bosses
Survey the geography of their constitution
And concentrate on each continent
And ready to pay compliment….
Penelopes of the modern times,
Your hands transform loan-sharks
Into pot-bellied, globe-trotting tycoons.
These textile Sheikhs
When their family or female(s) sneeze
Millions and millions they unsqueeze
As if they are sylvestral leaves
Falling beauteously in the vernal breeze!
But alas! These helicoptered and villaed
Villains, as if through the alchemy of a vile wand
Into penniless paupers transformed
When the Midas-hands entreat them
To get exchange for their tears and sweat.
All big talks, fountains of philanthropy run dry –
And they weave and cry
They weave and cry!
Cry no more, Penelope, weave no more,
Cease embroidering your ante-deluvian dreams
Cease weaving and weeping,
For, never will your Odysseus come.
Yet the dream-laden Penelopes
Weep and weave,
They weep and they weave!
They weep and they weave!!
Poems by Sujatha Sivan
Introduction to the Poet:
Sujatha Sivan Janardhanam is an avid writer with a natural flair for it. Born and brought up in Chennai, she has been exposed to multi-cultural scenario. Her persona is very lively and she is a bold person who is ready to speak for herself. She loves writing poems and short stories and has developed this passion from her early school days. She has written for lots for friends but not thought about publishing seriously. This is her first endeavor to publish the poems she has written. She is an exemplary Assistant Professor in the Department of English and has taught many students communication, reading, writing and listening skills. She always enjoys snuggling up with a good read and has worked hard to spread the joy of reading in her kids and aspires to do so among other kids. She is a one of a kind teacher and always dons a beautiful smile on her face.
Molted, shiny walking ball of wants
Yearning to be fed, longing for little hugs
Dozing away in its cozy awesome corner
Evangelic totter tot cuddlesome and cute
Angel in disguise still a meddlesome mute
Rugged personality, a winsome loner.
Learning to grow, growing to learn
Ubiety uppermost, ubykh the mood
Nevermore naughty naggings you forever showed
Animated persona thy parting we mourn
Wailing loud and clear though we remain near
Ever with us everywhere, now how do we bear?
Megalo dinosaur, doggedly darting on you would walk,
Inching squinching slowly searching ahead
Swaggering along swift-eyed sniggers squealed amid
Stomping on sure-footed the smaller swifties you would stalk
Yawning away on your herculean day’s triumph
Over and aloft in your abode you’d stand
Undeniably graceful yet infantile adamancy in demand
Rightfully claimed our love; could we ever sing you a deserving epitaph?
Weeping eyes have dried, naught thy memory
Angel inexplicable in disguise I’m sure
Yabberist who could feign an act intensely demure
Still Dear Luna, I profess, we miss you more every day.
Eyes exploring the darkness till rooster calls,
Up from the bed thoughts gushing impromptu,
Queen and maid – all roles played in her Raj,
Adrenaline rushes, duties call – role now- Cinderella,
Young and old, tending and caring- euphuist,
Flaming rights pushing ahead, working to a flourish,
Cinders done, Saraswati regales academia.
Dawn to dusk, mould and shine,
Create and set a distinct matrix,
Cook , govern, clean; Nurse, care , teach,
Still at dusk, no less a domino,
Restless actions , relentless thoughts – a rushing river,
Mother Sita’s selfless love exert,
Till the long hardy day at last ends.
In and out,
Delve not in doubt,
Eternal genuine smiles,
Negatives cast miles,
Tactful and respectful,
Independent yet dutiful,
The roles donned are infinity,
Ye woman….. Your identity?
Poem by Sabeet Raza
Introduction to the Poet:
Sabeet Raza is an International Baccalaureate Student at Jerudong International School. He is the founder of Religion Humanity Initiative. His works have been featured in 6 different newspaper/magazines in various countries. He actively blogs for the rights of the oppressed at “amplifyyourvoice.org”. He is an aspiring author working on debutant book.
Lone Walk Back
“I walk to the park,
With intentions to experience joy
And so I do, I walk so more
Into, deeper, into the park
And when I do, I see
the green grass and colorful rides
and also the beauty of the Easter day
then finally I get my turn on the ride
I feel joy
Not for long though
The other kids soon take my ride
And I have to walk on foot now
But fun revisits as I look around
As I embrace the beautiful happiness
There is also the slight breeze
And the smile on my mother’s face
She looks at me
And I look back
“It’s just so beautiful today!”
And then I nod to agree
But she didn’t know, did she?
That at the end of the day
I’d walk home alone
With no dad, no mum, nor my 2 siblings
That my siblings would be punished for making too much noise
And enjoying the swings all too much
And my parents for letting them be
But not me as I stood silent in the breeze
I wish they knew that the bearded man was there
And not the good one who gives me candies
But the one who takes the joy
The one who takes 70 lives
I wish my siblings and the others
Hadn’t made so much noise
Maybe the bearded man would not have blown up
Maybe I would not have to walk back alone.”
Poems by Pooja
Introduction to the Poet:
Puja Chakraborty works at Reseapro Scientific Services Private Limited. She has edited and sub-edited for various literary journals. She has also authored and co- authored a number of scholarly works and academic books that are available internationally worldwide.
LOVE AND WAR
The sword of Achilles that plunges on thrones to bleed dry the flesh of its skeletoned home
Arjuna strives to catch the fish in the eye, unswayed by the motion tide
Antony tarries himself with Egyptian charms, winks at Rome’s fallen arms
Lancelot hurled over by an adulterous fate, mocks Arthur and heaven’s gate
Great men were born to live great and tramp the world unrepentant of actions made.
Love appears in vibrant hues and leaves the world in ruddy shades
Legends are not born today but are the recurrence of deeds forever made
Love is intense; love is deep
Love empowers; loves makes weak
In the pantheon of passion’s holy bay let me pay the loyal patronage
Unhindered by the vicissitudes of time, allow me to incinerate and regenerate in your celestial fire.
Where does this come from?
Solitude, alone can tell
Alone amidst the buzz of town
Alone amidst the crack of dawn
Alone amidst thorny bushes
Even though they reap roses,
Alone amidst the comfort of your arms
Alone amidst my silent prayers and songs
Like bleak clouds overwhelming clear blue sky
It wraps us oyster-like
And as we await a mysterious fate
A luminous pearl evolves to glorify our thoroughfare.
Poems by Nayanthara
Introduction to the Poet:
Nayanathara has been mentioned in several reputed literary journals (print and online) In 2011, she bagged the ‘Young Writer’s Award’ instituted by the online literary journal, “Indian Ruminations” for her maiden anthology of poems titled ‘The Scent of Frangipani’. One of her poems was selected in the ‘Highly Commended’ category for the ‘Inspired by Tagore’ International Writing Competition 2011-2012 organized by the British Council in association with SAMPAD. She also bagged the fourth position in the Rabindranath Tagore Poetry Award – 2014 instituted by Poiesisonline.com and Xpress Publications. In 2014, her second poetry collection, ‘In the shade of the bodhi’ was published by the critically acclaimed literary quarterly, Brown Critique. Recently, her poem, ‘The Miracle Man’ won the commendation prize in the All India Poetry Competition 2014 held by the Poetry Society of India.
The moon grew bigger, bigger and bigger,
Sucking the ink black skies into its deep, dark, cavernous hole.
In the stillness of the night,
When the earth was deep in slumber
And the stars and planets were conspiring the fates of mortals,
Yasodhara and her new-born lay cuddled in sleep in the royal chamber
Unaware of the destiny that awaited them.
It was a magnificent room embellished with statuettes of silver
And gold, and dragons with ruby-red eyes spitting fire;
A haven of luxury and boundless pleasures,
A setting fit enough for any ordinary mind to go astray.
A small oil lamp burnt feverishly in a corner.
In the flickering light, he gazed at the entwined figures once more;
The mother and the baby completely oblivious to the world around.
For a moment, tears brimmed in his lotus eyes…
But he had to go.
It was a tough decision, but he had made up his mind.
He was a man of larger vision, a man of higher purpose –
An evolved soul who couldn’t be tied down by worldly pleasures.
Kneeling beside her, he planted one last kiss on her nimble feet,
And caressed the smooth forehead of the little one.
Then, without wasting much time,
Without saying a word,
The young man in saffron robes, with a large alms bowl in his hands,
Walked out of the dark palace gates in silence –
In search of a new world, a new dawn.
From the small window in her room,
She gazed at the blue-black skies woven with a billion crystals.
Her silver white hair fell in cascades over her stooped shoulders,
Exuding the fresh fragrance of champa and wild jasmine.
From some unknown corner,
A cluster of stars shed its tranquil beams on her beautiful silhouette.
With her slender fingers, she gently traced the galaxies
That spun like prayer wheels on the edge of the universe.
Does the world still remember Chandramukhi, the veteran danseuse?
Do they still dream the demigoddess with demure eyes?
Do they still yearn for those tingling anklets that once set hearts on fire?
Do gods and goddesses hiding in the sanctum sanctorum of ancient temples
Still marvel at her perfectly chiselled form?
Perhaps, the world no longer cared for her.
Now, in her late seventies,
She is a paraplegic, living in the pathetic confines of an old age home –
Neglected by her sons, isolated by an egocentric society,
And bound to a world of sheer misery and hopelessness.
But tonight, like a virgin, she keenly waits for her beloved:
The mighty king of darkness, the stealer of souls.
She wants to be loved, to cuddle in the dark abyss of his arms –
Blissful, comforting and peaceful…
Poems by V. Vathsala
Introduction to the Poet:
V.Vathsala is a student from Chennai pursuing the chartered accountancy course. She is passionate about writing poems and singing in her spare time.
A WALK IN THE WOODS
She walked silently along the woods,
Her fingers ran over the wild grass.
The far-flung forest echoed silence,
Attuning to her moves perfectly poised.
Oblivious to the cobweb of the clock,
All alone in the dark, she made her walk.
With a glint of moonlight on her unfathomable eyes,
Her soul had found its companion in her disguise.
Suddenly a voice from a distant land called her by name,
It said, “It’s time, we shall now leave home”.
She picked up her white cane and braille pad,
Now all that was left was the time she spared.
Perhaps with a minute more in the woods to spend,
She would have wished for a vision to comprehend.
I FOUND THEE, THE ALMIGHTY
Searching for thee, from days of yore,
As a sailor on the waves of the past.
I did sail amidst the roar of waves,
In search of thee, the Almighty.
A sudden serenity prevailed all over,
The serenity which precedes a calamity.
I felt the voyage over dead waves,
Where the world seemed like a gloomy cave,
Where nature had lost its happy tunes,
As vacuum replaced the fierce winds.
I felt the sinister atmosphere of the crypt,
Just as the blue sky came down to converse.
The elements of nature froze for a second,
As unseen waves of fear reached the zenith.
Suddenly came out of the blue, the hand,
Of a fellow sailor with a ray of hope.
The time when all fears merged into the air,
“Oh, I found thee, I found thee!!
Not in holy books or scriptures,
But in the guise of a helping hand.”