Aju Mukhopadhyay, IN




Free Verse


The Profiles of Birds


High growth and thick foliage
in an enclosure opposite our garden
invited the golden orioles to stay on;
often they perch on a bo tree or an old banyan
sometimes chasing the irritant house crows
sometimes coming close to us for a short stay
soon to fly away.
As the summer through rains was evaporating
I found them often absenting;
the idea that they might have migrated
gave birth to a feeling of remorse
for not snapping them during their course.

Bright golden-yellow with sharp black patches
preening and pruning with beak
gnawed at my heart, incited me to seek
and catch them to keep in memory digital.

And then suddenly
peu peu peu
the call reverberated in the air;
if not all, it must have reached a few.

Ready with camera held in two hands
as I stood below the drum-stick tree
they were spreading wings, preening and pruning
unafraid and free;
seeing me close by, posing the instrument to catch
they began love making, two of them dancing
jovially, jumping from branch to branch;
it seemed entirely unusual and rare
for them to so behave with me so near.

I began clicking to catch and imprison the beauties
forgetting that the Sun was at its youth

standing before me; a morning sooth
like a real cul-de-sac.
I caught, alas, the shadows of the birds,
profiles surrounded by twisting branches and dark leaves,
colourless facades.

Though in my heart I have kept their images and song
the idea to imprison them was perhaps wrong.
I strongly feel that all this has been
with the intervention of a presence unseen
for things evanescent in any sense
are to be realized only in essence.



Tanka Prose


Kumbh Mela


At Allahabad in northern India one finds two rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, mixing. Legend has it that Saraswati, now flowing underground as recently testified, also mixes with the other two here, meaning that the three most revered, historic, mythological rivers of India commingle here. It is called Triveni Sangam. On tithi or auspicious astronomical dates people come to dip in this Triveni Sangam. It is also called Prayag. For such huge gathering of lacks of people it is natural that fairs are arranged. The original Kumbh Mela or fair is held once in twelve years.

I find a sea of humanity here, gathered as if with the aspiration of doing something very auspicious to fulfil their lives, now and after. Though it seems that the people have left their home and hearth to come to this distant land under some unforeseen urgency, actually it is the unity and aspiration of equal minds which have brought them here; a happy commingling of hearts at the confluence of rivers.

as if a mass exodus
but their faces are serene

sea of humanity
gathered at Allahabad Ganga
bathing for nectar; Kumbha Mela.





Suicide Point


There is a peak in the kodaikanal mountain range which is named Suicide Point. The reason is that, it is said, quite some persons, specially youth, committed suicide by jumping from here. As I visit the peak the valley seems very far with glittering things of myriad hues. Light and darkness plays in the field constantly as plays the colors. At some time it seems as if the mountains are moving while staying fixed their heads seems to undulate. It is a mesmerizing scene.

Light on clouds, clouds cover lights
So occult to claim a surrender
So deep to incite suicide



The Lotus and the Boat


End of the rainy season still greets the earth with light showers which rinse or splash. The sky shines in bright blue face, slightly darkened occasionally to end in some pouring. Happiness abounds in all the fields growing paddy with other greeneries. The earth is satisfied yet solicitous. Sun is bright. Lake is vast.

I am riding on a big country boat with two oarsmen at two ends. Water in the lake is full to the brim, smiling with jubilant water liliespink, white and red; lotus grovespink and white. Ripples often play splashing inside the boat drenching us. The lotus leaves are quite close to the boat and the lotus buds with stems often seem taller than the edge of the boat.

water splashing inside
swishing the inside of the boat

dark green lotus leaves, close


(The poem was published in Indian Haikuprint edition only- 2008)









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