Sunday, April 14, 2013

Three Poems by Adreyo Sen

The Absence of Silence

Today the cuckoo will stutter and hover uncertainly
as it sings the joyous tidings of the new dawn.
The tribal women will hurry past the closed gates, heads bent,
for his quiet smile won’t greet their mischievous mango-stained laughter.
The baby next door will gurgle expectantly for Nana,
as she stares out of the window, only to subside into a woeful quiet
that requires all the comforting powers of her mother.
The squirrel won’t come out of its nook, only stare,
with dim, beady eyes at the once well-fed street dogs, wandering aimlessly.
The passersby will hesitate as they cross his gate,
their mouths opening in greeting. Then they will briskly walk away.
He has gone now. He has finally left the sun-baked red soil well-trodden by his feet.
This fall, you won’t see him fragile and bent,
slowly picking the strewn leaves of gracious old Dorothy,
only slightly younger than him.
We knew him not, whence he came from, his age.
He was as timeless as the rippling brook flowing from weathered rocks,
greeting generations of passersby with a gentle morning nod.
We knew his presence, we knew the soft silence
that greeted us as we passed his gate, his cheerful eyes making us feel secure
No more…

The village is silent and ill at ease with itself. The silence is tense and heavy.
And the young white-clad woman tries to push away the violent stillness
Attacking her as she softly covers her father’s withered face.

The Forest Comes Alive
Dawn comes, the sky is tinged with black
and the colours of the rising sun,
new and yellow, coming to command the stars.
Somewhere a bird, for all birds
seem the same to me over here,
breaks into a twitter, timidly, for
it’s an ordeal to be first, to break the silence.
She’s followed and a storm of twittering
blasts through the silence. The sleepy dog
cocks an eye and gets up with a moan.
He shakes himself and ambles on.
The trees start rustling in tune
to the fresh, sighing wind.
that seeps through the forest.
A buzz of activity somewhere.
A scamper of feet and then silence.
Two boys come along the wet road,
their eyes aglow with excitement,
off to get their daily milk.
Grey wisps of smoke float somewhere,
a red flame burns steadily behind the bus
and people warm their hands at the fire
They do not talk. There are no words required.
Their faces reflect the peace of the morning.

Not for long. Somewhere in the tents
A babel rises, the day has begun.

Village by the Sea
The discordant symphony of water and pebbles
ushers faint whiffs of the Raat Ki Rani.
A distant rumble rolls through the tense skies
as a white streak passes across the velvet blackness,
only to vanish in silence.
The sea roars back, stormy waves surging forth,
its enraged froth fast drying on the parched white sands.
A dull yellow blur grows larger along the mountainside,
revealing the centuries-old path of lovers.
Her ebony hair and clothes plastered to her skin, a girl calls out,
to the scattered white specks, her eyes smiling.
They come together in a final sonata of cowbells.
In the scattered mud houses, the black-red stoves
burn steadily to prepare the night’s meal.
The cicadas pick up their personal quarrel,
stilling the night with their evil shrillness.
And as the last glowing embers of a long day slowly fade out,
The far away city’s giant causeway of ebony-stained yellow lights
Is reduced to empty darkness.
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer. Adreyo did his undergraduate work in English and his postgraduate work in English and Sociology. He has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.

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