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POETRY OF ARUNANSU BANERJEEPOETRY OF ARUNANSU BANERJEE

'Oh, Kolkata! My Kolkata' Hours before Sunset Sevenling Inertia
Sevenling – Night Revisit Guitar
cloud laden Kolkata Neither today, nor tomorrow... yet someday My first Sevenling
The rain, and after Krishna Year-End Tanka
The foreign poet early morning poem Naissance Cherita
Mirage Cherita Obsessed options
The Bonsai World In Memory of Bamiyan Buddhas Woolgathering
A schizophrenic’s soliloquy May Tanka Storm
When words are not enough Haiku

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Glossary
1) For the poem 'Oh, Kolkata! My Kolkata'

Kolkata (Calcutta) is a city in India.

Gulab jamun - (Hindi) (gool-aab jaa-mun) or gulab jamun is a popular Indian, Nepali,
Pakistani, and Bangladeshi sweet dish.
Gulab jamun (gul-aab jaa-mun) is a popular northern Indian dessert, made of a dough
consisting mainly of milk solids, (often including double cream and a little flour) in a
sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater or saffron.

Sandesh (Bengali) - is a sweet that is made in West Bengal state of India and in Bangladesh.
It is somewhat comparable to a Peda. It is created with coconut and sugar. Some recipes
of Sandesh call for the use of chhana (curdled milk) or paneer instead of coconut.


2) For the poem "Zubeida"

Mehndi body art - a tradition of India and other Middle Eastern nations, it has gained popularity
worldwide. Resembling intricate tattoos, mehndi body art is applied to the surface of the skin
using a paint-like henna paste. The paste stays on the skin for several hours. When it is
removed, it leaves behind a stain that darkens over 24 hours.Mehndi body art can last one
to two weeks or longer.


3) For the poem "Death of a Neem tree"

Bauls – minstrels from Bengal. Bauls constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical
tradition used as a vehicle to express Baul thought.

Ektara – One stringed instrument played mainly by the Bauls.


4) For the poem "Krishna"

Anahata sounds - are the mystic sounds heard by the Yogin during his meditation. It is said that
once your heart chakra (Anahata) activates and your consciousness rests at the heart center,
you may hear overpowering sounds that penetrate your whole being and that these sounds are most
pleasant to the ear and they resonate within every particle of your universe. There are loud as well
as subtle sounds.

Kans grass - Kans grass (Saccharum spontaneum) is a grass native to south Asia. It is a perennial grass,
growing up to three meters in height, with spreading rhizomatous roots.


5) For the poem "Naissance Cherita"

Moonmilk - is a white, cheese-like substance found inside caves. It is similar to other deposits, but its unique
quality is that it does not harden or turn to stone. It is a precipitate from limestone.

Finger fluting - a term coined by Robert Bednarik. In prehistoric art, finger flutings are lines that fingers
leave on a soft surface. Considered a form of cave painting, they have been found in caves at least through
southern Australia, New Guinea, and southwestern Europe. Generally they were made in a substance called moonmilk.








'Oh, Kolkata! My Kolkata'

Rain beads glitter
in the halo of streetlamps,
i watch you in a candle flame
within the makeshift dwelling
of a street urchin

A local train sheepishly dissects
the morning fog
your sulky face by the window

i read symptoms
of your newest disease in newspapers;
two sparrows twitter inside your ribcage
dreaming of a winterhome

Oh Kolkata, my Kolkata,
i discover you as an abandoned child
wailing beside the trash dump

i open a casket full of decaying
tube-colours, and search for a lost one;
nagging flies keep tasting
a pile of sweets in a shop







Hours before Sunset

she tiptoes
into my mind
slips to the farthest corner

**

cirrus waves
inform a Gulmohar
of an alien

**

fog monster
engulfs the hill --
I search phrase book

**

hummingbird
flirts around
reddened marigold


(Gulmohar – Royal Poinciana tree)







Sevenling Inertia

Morning’s roving fingers
probe uncertainties
hidden behind a mist’s curtain

Somnolent night owl
perched upon a bare bough
of a winter-crippled oak

tries to shield his stupor

   





   

Sevenling – Night

In the deep dark corner:
a plastic clock face,
and jerking seconds.

Arms in silken embrace
feel the hours slithering by;
soft sighs of the shadows

...rest beside dozing stars.







Revisit

(Haibun)

I had shared many a baked summer mid-noon with a quiet path.
We would curse weather bulletins, and believe our curses could hasten the rain clouds. We would contemplate the likelihood of a hailstorm pelting us with frozen bullets. Three sprightly sparrows would twitter, “We have found it!” and exchange places. Near a cross-road, an antique furniture store with a heady smell of turpentine and an octogenarian store-keeper with his ever-smiling face would stare at us. Today, I watch its age-worn signboard hanging loose. The awning in ruins. Walls morbid and covered with moss. The path says, “I leave you here”.

bougainvillea vines
grown over a decade--
farewell flowers







Guitar

One late afternoon
rain poured quietly.
Your face was crimsoned,
eyes had a strange gleam.
Something was odd
about my sheepish smile, too.

My voice nestled inside,
purred like a drenched kitten,
as we exchanged silence.

Today, the water-drops
have found a lonesome melody.







cloud laden Kolkata

Black & white day
under an archaic umbrella.
Grayish demon flexes its muscles
over skyscrapers . A rickshaw-puller’s
raincoat is glued to his skin. An abandoned
leaf journeys on flood waters. The Magpie Robin,
merrily drenched, calls somebody.
Drops narrate anecdotes
on a bus window.







Neither today, nor tomorrow... yet someday

I’ll wake you up
and throw open the gateway
to my irrational imaginings. You’ll find
a path leading to a flight of stairs,
taking you inside a door hinged with
my ventricles. You might wonder
how could butterflies flutter within
my morbid veins, why a cuckoo calls
amidst a stale fog inside the cranium,
why a carpet of deceased autumns
do not rustle under weighty loneliness.

I don’t intend to disrupt
the brilliant view of a diamond ring
in your sky. I just want to show you
a glimpse of an eclipsed world.







My first Sevenling

You have shed your old skin,
sprinkled remorse-ridden sunlight
over a poison ivy.

My soliloquy has grown
like unkempt grasses; overgrown weeds
have imprisoned your lost wings.

I used to love gardening, ages ago.







The rain, and after
(Two Sevenlings)

She’d sky-dive with succulent drops,
frolic upon leaves of a rare foliage
and plop into a puddle.

She yearns to flirt with a young Nimbus,
get drifted by a stubborn wind
to unoccupied isles.

She’d compose a symphony for the dripping moments.

******************************

When the curtain lifts, the haze clears,
she watches her dream-globules evanesce
like rain-dots on warm sands.

One green tree frog warbles,
a wasp spider limps out of its secrecy
and starts to weave a labyrinth of sunrays.

A tune jingles inside her.







Krishna

playing a flute
beside tufts of kans grass
in full-moon

**

a lotus blooms --
faint Anahata sounds
deep inside

**

subtle waves
on the river
carry starlets

**

moonlit treetops
immerses in divine bliss --
universe listens







Year-end Tanka

I.

sunkissed
Croton Petra leaves
this cold morning --
she stitches memories
with a golden thread

II.

scripts a story
on Eucalypt trunk
a moth larvae --
in late afternoon
she sketches a landscape







The foreign poet

Had Percy Bysshe Shelley
ever strolled the Kolkata streets
on a fog-ridden winter morning,
he might have been tempted to script
an ode to the northerly wind

that sweeps out vestiges of one rickshaw
-- puller’s dream at the fringe of night

The poet would saunter along a river bank,
savor the gentle breeze carrying murmurs of a city

He’d take note of the street urchins and mongrels
basking together in afternoon sunshine

He’d visit Book Fair stalls, watch the flow of humanity
that laughs, jostles, and squabbles in an unknown language

He might recline in a quiet corner, smile at his own self,
and say:

O Kolkata, thou art the strangest of the strange,
yet the liveliest of all human settlements

Thou art not to be measured, but to be perceived
with the warmest of hearts

I bow to thee!







early morning poem

Adhan sounds
from nearby mosque
dawn brightens

**

sunbird hurries by --
mist-veiled memorial
reveals its shape

**

tree line, grayed
two horses, one stray dog
nibble the grass

**
searches for buds
on withered boughs --
Percy Bysshe Shelley







Naissance Cherita

inside the Altamira cave

we let our fingers meander
over moonmilk

we create serpentine rivers,
paint bison herds and stallions
on a dimly-lit ceiling


(See Glossary, #5)  





Mirage Cherita

our eyes meet

Bedouin inspects
aeolian landforms

a restless camel
hastens toward
unreachable oasis







Obsessed

Every room in Aunt Kelly’s home
is a regular hexahedron

You enter her dining space and come across
equilateral windowpanes

Exotic landscapes, each having four-equal-sides
hang in a neat display

Squarish wall-clock houses a square-faced
blue bird, tweeting at the stroke of an hour

Vases, square-based, placed on quadrate tabletops
look empty for want of ‘symmetric florets’

You ask her, how on earth did she acquire
those ‘boxy’ saucepans in her kitchen

And she grins: “Look, my world has a beauty
because of its harmonious arrangement

- even my toenails follow an evenness!”

She tells you that she measures her bed-room
mirror every morning

And to her horror the other day, she found
its length exceeding the limit by three solid inches

And how she has managed to coax that stubborn
store-keeper to place her urgent order

For another new cheval glass, accurately squared.







options

[ Tanka ]

to choose between
a daffodil and a daisy --
the obsessed Narcissus
or the ‘eye of a day’

walk
the lonely path
sighs an autumn
the poet finds
a new door, every hour







The Bonsai World

[ Haiku sequence ]

juniper
formally upright
begs for alms

**

maple
arches its back
seated on a rock

**

petrified sailor
faces the storm
on a hawthorn raft

**

black hill spruces
young and old
stranded on an island

**

dust settles
over broom-like tufts
of elm crown

**

watching pictures
of miniature garden
God sighs







In Memory of Bamiyan Buddhas

Digging into Afghanisthan soil
I recovered tombs
of Bible, Koran and Bhagvad Gita
lying in a row

I engraved roses into the earth’s skin
beside each holy scripture
and scribbled a note:

To whoever reads this,
Pray, that your Gods do not tremble
with the scream of each missile







Woolgathering

breakfast fish
leaps out of my plate
returns to cool water
everyday we play the same game

reverse of kindness
sours my day
bees need nectar and pollen
not thorns

with another storm
I'd lose all miseries of last spring

the bluebird hops between branches
the wind so hollow
blowing through my fingers

 





A schizophrenic’s soliloquy

This isolated month of May
appears so different with its jaded roses
and mophead hydrangeas, entangled
in bluegrass weeds.

The bloody herbs have spared nobody.
Look, they have grown on my limbs even!
Grasses have covered half of your face
- didn’t the mirror tell you?

They’ll try to choke us to death,
though the winds must have cautioned them.
They might be aware
that I’m unassailable.

See them stare at us like that!
They’ll gently exhume obnoxious fumes
- go get the gas masks ready!

No, no, I don’t need your help!
Get your hands off me, wretched worm!
Squirming invertebrate!
Just listen to me and do as I say
- Get the gas masks ready!

And see my hands, my palms so soft
I’ve freed them from the weeds
- they look so different this year,
don’t they?







May Tanka

I.

pollen-laden bees
enter my idle room
roam about
one round table
and a circle of chairs

II.

ants carry
tiny bread morsels
I stand in a queue
a dream trickles down
sweaty shoulders

III.

humming bird
hesitates
at my window
a hint
of her fragrance







Storm

I.

cover the path
with red petals
beside my window
your unbridled hair
rustles through branches

II.

your tears
bathe the earth
fill up potholes
not the darkened corner
in your eye

III.

you breathe your last
i get consumed
in silence
electron-arcs
rip shadows apart







When words are not enough

Brother, all my life
I’ve painted sunflowers, irises, wheat fields
rooftops, potato-eaters and the like.
But see, what the world has given me in return -
one scorching bullet-wound in my chest!
Watch the blood, so real, so down-to-earth
like the filthy woman in the old brothel ...

I can sense the curtain coming down,
a gargantuan shadow eclipsing my view.

I needed to die in an open field
free from the people lurking within
your half-lit bylanes.

Let it be then, brother, let it be.

Though the sadness of severing my ties
from these meadows glittering in July,
the cypress, the orchards
the green fairy absinthe,

Will last forever.







Haiku (wind drifts, Tonight, Dawn, etc.)

wind drifts
wind drifts --
my neighbor's door
dusted with pollen

***

Tonight
her soliloquy --
breezy saxophone
and champagne fizz

***

Dawn
light trickles in
through a fine cloud gap --
whistling tea kettle

***

haiku (2)
the rickshaw puller
tightens his rug around him --
burning of leaves

Rikuzentakata --
a family photograph
peeps out of debris











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