An Ordinary Life

Countless and blazing verdant were the leaves that sprung, buds of hope,

They clung, precariously, on to my skin, feeding on my sweat and tears,

Then some winds blew, with those frosty gusts, I watched them elope,

One by one they fell, as if sliced by a butcher’s knife, the cold metal smelted from my fears,

I protested, with my silent screams the air was rife, there was nobody around, no one to hear,

And yet they crumbled; those withering leaves, yet they fell,

Softly they floated, carried by unseen arms, ringing a death knell.


Many dreams visited my half-awakened mind,

Bright drops of mercury that I cupped in my hands in a shimmering pool,

But now, those oft-remembered wishes, I cannot find.

The winds of time speak; they call me a fool,

For this is how things must be, dreams die as a rule.

Trickle away you brilliant snakes, into memory’s depths, into its dark wells,

And rest there; while slowly fade the music of tolling, mourning bells.


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Perhaps not to be is to be without you….

I could name a thousand things I love about Kolkata. But if I had to pick one place as my favourite it would be the South Park Street Cemetery. The reason is the tombstone in the picture. Derozio, William Jones and Rose Aylmer are buried there too. But the glory of the poets and the poet’s muse pale before the touching tribute of the grieving husband. If tears froze into words etched in stone probably something like this would be created. Every time I read it, I cannot but help sigh over the haunting sadness that surrounds this story of this young woman who lived, loved and died in a strange land at twenty three. Maybe Edgar Allan Poe was right. The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world. But a thousand florid Annabel Lee and its seraphs could not match this simple poem in its poignant beauty. Find below the text of the epitaph.

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Quasi Una Fantasia

(I wrote this while listening to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, hence the title. My first attempt at the villanelle form of poetry.)


When sleeping eyes open but are not awake, and rove as if in a living dream,

Wakefulness I drown in reverie’s waters, let me float on this lost stream,

It almost is true, this world I see, almost a fantasy.


Beauty like a cliff’s edge, to stand and peer or to plunge into its teasing, tempting abyss?

In an endless pursuit of fleeting moments, in a vain grab at a passing moonbeam,

When sleeping eyes open but are not awake, and rove as if in a living dream.

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A Thought Coloured Red

Seed of a disease, the fever of my mind walked in disguise as the banal,

A thought not like poetry, a thought like the yielding rain fattened ground.

The ignored soil silently sighed; everyone came to see only the roses’ merry carnival,

Imprints of feet remained but no odes, no paeans in volumes leather bound.


Plain, this ordinary thought, never to smirk in beauty’s smugness, plain, this hobnailed donkey,

Unsung and despised, the stoic beast trudged in tired servitude.

Not Stubbs nor Husain captured the brute, for Caesar rode only horses,

Meekly it walked in the shadows of mountains, never to claim its beatitude.


Black this thought, perched beside a murder of red carrion crows,

Its whispers just as ominous as their beady eyes, fanned by wings of fury,

Obscured by the peacock’s parade the neglected raven gathers its forces in burgeoning rows,

Unrest slices through the nation’s stomach in a corridor of blood, change must here arrive in a hurry.


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