A Woman I Am

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The woman, the mother and the daughter. Image source: http://www.stressreliefwizard.org

“Which of your roles you find central to your being ? Being a mom, or daughter, or teacher, or student, a professional or a homemaker, or anything else ? Write, and then write a poem too”.

This was a weekend writing prompt that one of my virtual friends, a poet/writer had initiated in an online writing forum in Facebook dedicated to women writers/poets and/or artists. Based on her beautiful weekend writing prompt, here is my humble attempt to define myself as the mother, the daughter. The umbilical cord, long severed physically, remains within us and reshapes our life, in ways more than one.

 

A Woman I am

(1)
The umbilical cord is bespattered
With blood, mucus and a chill of pain.
The child, first a foreign growth
And then, a mirror image of her own,
A wet, moving mass, is expelled
After spasms rushing out, gushing, in waves.
In laboring, birthing, in the pain
And bliss that returns,
The daughter becomes the mother,
The mother comes to the daughter in shared wound
At birth, both are united by a raw pain of separation.
A child with a descent line, sustained with
Her life-blood and love, fingers, nails, toes,
Eyes, ears, nose, lips, trailing after her.

                              (2)
A woman I am, the umbilical cord, the conjoined life
Of my mother and me, long dried up, severed
Yet a fire in my soul that illuminates my trails.
Walking barefoot, parched and reckless,
Swimming, moving, arms wide spread
In the lost tides of time,
The cord, long lost, pulls, tugs at my womanhood
In elemental wonder. The cord is the dance,
The merry-go-round and the preciousness of love
As I writhe in pain, longing.
I am gorging in smoke and flames
As the child is borne in beauty and pain.
I am the woman, the daughter and the mother
A little nursling, I squirm, thrash, snuffle
Am unbuttoned inside milky warmth.
A woman, a lustrous being, the miracle of birth
Latches onto my being, holds onto my seraphin wings.
A woman I am, the umbilical cord beckons me.

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To Ravaged Nymphs

Stop abusing women. Image Source: Therightimpact.com

Note for the readers:  This poem is born out of sheer anger keeping in mind the recent news of the rape and molestation rampage plaguing the women in Kolkata and West Bengal. I dedicate it to all my sisters in India and also worldwide, to their bruises and tears, while knowing that this is the only form of protest that I can do now.

Today I am angry, writhing, moaning.
My lips are full of venom and pain,
My breasts are heaving, malignant
With the burden of human sins.

Let me not sleep in silken slumber
In the vain masculinity of your arms.
Let me not spread my legs and
Drift ashore in the ocean of your lust.

For once, today, let me break free
Of your smothering kisses,
Your broken sentences, 
your overused bed sheets.

In the humming silence enacted
In this room of practiced orgasms,
A shrill cry tries to distract me,
Calls me, breaks through the door.
A cry that pushes through my cervix,
A cry that burns within
This cherished cloak of femininity.

A cry that reminds me
Of the indomitable ulcer of RAPE.
Every minute, one out of three of us
In every corner of the world
Is crushed between your legs,
Your masculinity, a curse,
A puked reality in our lives.

For once, today, my love
Let me untouched,
Let me light the candles
For my sisters in pain!

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee
September 18, 2014

A Birthday Song: Re-remembered

Fragmented recollections of my birthday celebrations in my childhood, of my growing up years, and the years that followed to my womanhood. My first self-dedicated piece in the month of August, that ironically is both the month of my birth and that of my mother’s demise. 

 

A birthday was a dainty dream,
Kisses and sparkles of a day
Lost in the tides of time.
A birthday was a saturated fun
Of cooked food, aromatic spices
And the milk of a mother’s fondness.
A birthday was a chocolatey wait for school friends,
Orchestrated songs and claps, resounding among
A crowded classroom and a makeshift living room.

Every year, an announcement of age leaping
Body and soul of a girl growing, a young woman fumbling,
A grown-up woman, alone like a tunnel,
Wishes and cakes invading, eager and firm.
Each year going by like colored hues of a good-bye.
The numberless years, their memories,
The whiff of a tempest or two, beating above
The nameless silence of a new year
And its fertile, insolent promises.

A birthday is the dusky body of a day,
The mortal flame of a light as I lie
Between the goblets of my old days, in surrender.
My soul flees in between the twilight glory of birth,
The solitary bell of death. Love deepens, darkens
Among the murmur of waves that devours both,
And watches, echoes and voices, fled, migrated,
Like an old voyage.

The morning is full of summer love,
Sprinkled with wishes and songs.
Behind them, I hide like a spider,
Soundless, trembling, barefoot,
Leaning, picking up my distant, drowning days.

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee. August 11, 2014

The Closure

Remembering my mother Rama Bhattacharyya on the month of August, which happens to be the month of my birth and her death. A couple of days following her first death anniversary, I would like to dedicate this piece published in ‘Northeast Review’ to the loving memory of my Ma. In this personal essay, I have attempted to trace my spiritual journey to Puri, Bhubaneshwar and Konark in the holy land of Orissa, India, following her ‘sraaddha’ (late rites) rituals last year, as per the Hindu religious rites. Hope she has found ultimate peace and salvation in an eternal kingdom of love. Rest in peace, Ma!

All my thanks to the editors of ‘Northeast Review’, especially to the Nonfiction editor Sumana Ray for accepting and publishing this narrative nonfiction piece which will remain the closest to my heart forever.

http://northeastreview.com/2014/07/10/the-closure/