Erothanatos

E-ISSN 2457-0265

 

Vol. 4 Issue 3

Zinia Mitra


 

Amphan

 

A page of a wet notebook is easily torn 

like the mind

old aches lie scribbled on the leaves of the trees 

uprooted by the cyclone

a cosmos of events rewind on them.

Each of us had a window

that opened to a tree.

Each of us had a little sunshine that brightened our days

like leaves after the rains.

When the branches of the fallen trees are cut

after storm to restore electric supply 

the cries, the despairing cries

that we hear are ours

they are our pains that the trees had absorbed

with our exhalations.

 

Some of us still have their leaves preserved in old books.

 

 

*Amphan was a cyclone that hit West Bengal on 16th May 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Long-Stalk Flowers

 

We should be glad we lived the moment—

the moment of your picking a long-stalk yellow flower

and clipping it on my longish brown hair. You said,

you wanted to collect all the yellow flowers that grow

on Tindharia slopes throughout your long sunburnt days

bring them to me on a soft silvery moonlit night

hold my hands till the rising lurid sun cleared your gray convex horizon.

It was such a limpid dance of words!

Thank heavens (if there is one)

I am no Mrs. Dalloway. I hate clinking glasses.

 

But in a sense we are all Clarissas

absurd perhaps in the eyes of our own Peters, organizing our grand parties

with words and thoughts and ideas

that eat and drink and dance and blather throughout our lives.

 

Our lives are like scratches on the surface

of our wet-soil minds made by wolves’ claws

scrapes on our bare skins when we stand unclothed dripping water

tiny points of ache forming on our old scars. We greet them

like old friends, look for them in the throng of concealed memories.

 

The autumn leaves fall outside my window.

Ravens caw. The yellow flowers are dead, my hair white.

We should be glad we lived that yellow- wild -flower moment

when the hills lit up in amber Diwali.

 

 

 

 

The Trees Are Buddhas

 

The trees are Buddhas.

They stand rapt in intense

meditation together and make forests.

When the melancholic winds break against their firm feet  

they preach peace.

They shed their memories

like autumnal leaves.

 

Born on the moist earth

The trees bloom fragrant flowers

like love. Greener leaves sprout like sutras in spring 

to whisper truths.

 

The seasons dance their melodies on tree branches 

adorn them with new leaves, new fruits

then strip them away  

the trees live the furrowed barks

and yellowed leaves. Ripe seedy fruits fall on the earth 

each seed is wooed to grow a tree. Spring arrives

to fulfill them. The trees grow old secretly after every spring

they draw coded rings deep inside their trunks

and wither away.

 

We die many times in our lifetime like the trees,

are renewed with every spring

that comes our way and after a season of fruits’ and flowers’ burden

carrying our own floral memories

we die.

 

The gust rolls the fallen leaves

across the forest floor.

Bamboo flutes make some painful music.

The tall green trees quietly embrace the seasons

we are all undeciphered rings in the end.

 

 

 

 

Sorrows

 

Thamma asked me to pinch up her sorrows

 like red ants from the bark of her tree

 they climb her long brown arms

 one by one from the imprisoned nights

when saltwater overflows her pores

and the rain disorients the shape of the girl

who floats trapped in a form

in her dreams she has kept her young.

I reach out across many ages to touch her hands

her dry skin peels off

a strong cinnamon smell in my fingers

memories of spices waft through the air

like flipped pages of her recipe books

basmati rice, ghee, saffron, cardamom,

milk and honey drip from their dog eared edge.

I warm a glass of clove water, vapours collect on my glasses

white clouds form around the distant cold moon

my fingers take in the warmth

adamantly repeating the cinnamon smell.

 

 

 

About the Poet

Zinia Mitra teaches English in the University of North Bengal. Her travelogues and articles have been published in The Statesman. Her poems have been published in National and International journals including Muse India, Ruminations, Contemporary Literary Review, Kavya Bharati, East Lit. Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), Asian Signature, Teesta Review, Setu.

      Her translations have been published in books and journals including Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi). Her translation of Abanindranath Tagore’s Khirer Putul has been published by Parabaaas. Her translation of “Jatiner Juto” by Sukumar Ray as ‘Jatin and his Sandals’ is  included in ICSE text book, A Magic Place. Her books include Indian Poetry in English: Critical Essays, Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra: Imagery and Experiential Identity, Twentieth Century British Literature: Reconstructing Literary Sensibility (co-edited), Interact (co-edited) and The Concept of Motherhood in India: Myths, Theories and Realities. She is on the editorial board of Teesta Review.

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