My monthly column at B’Khush, a slice of the bittersweet days of my childhood and the towering presence of Enid Blyton in it. My readers may have wondered why I don’t talk much about my father in my essays, stories and poems. This one is for my Father, my lost childhood days, and also for my daughters who have enlivened the child within me with their own bedtime stories. I hope parts of the story resonates with my readers and hope while reading, they would understand the need and urgency of mine to find the child within myself, hidden in an unseen nook of my mind.
My poetic rambling and humble tribute to my favorite singer, Geeta Dutt on the auspicious occasion of her birthday, November 23. Also sharing a very amateur sketch I had made in her memory, long back, probably in 2002.
So delighted to have it published in Learningandcreativity.com, a beautiful online resource on literature, film and fine arts, in ‘101 years of Indian Cinema’.
The poem has also been shared on Geeta Dutt’s fan page in Facebook, ‘The Magical Voice of Geeta Dutt’. Thank you Antara Nanda Mondal, editor of L&C, for everything!
Iridescent, calm, those eyes shone with so much love
As you hummed along, the world seeped in your bird songs.
The cascade rippled, gushed, flowed along
Harmonious rhymes, tailor-made for us
Caught between the crossfire of love and pining.
That hummingbird, caged within your fragile body
So full of dreams, clutching the transient luster
Of a tinsel town, harsh, cold, camouflaging your desires.
Your songs, a cult trudging the serene paths of love
While the world relinquished in their balmy presence,
There was no remedy to the abysmal core
Where you kept drowning, worn out, famished
Tangled in the maze of Bollywood, a whirlpool
That had sucked all bounty you had to give,
All passion, all ecstasy, as you lay still, one day
Lingering, watching over, in wreaths of silence.
Dark is the night as I listen to your refrains of love
They swirl around the room, bleeding
In the crescendo of life, exploding,
As you have bled, and died in love,
Drifted away, lingering, living.
Copyright: Lopa Banerjee. November 23, 2014
A glimpse into her life, her and her musical persona:
It is that time of the year again, in this part of the world, the snowy, starched whiteness, the silvery quiet of the blanketed city and the music of the chilly winds. Sharing a short piece that I had written at the start of winter in 2012, following the aftermath of a snowy blizzard that had disrupted our lives for nearly 24 hours.
“This is the window of my room. Through its folded blinds, while I move in the early morning in a kind of trance, I see the sweet winter’s eyes. I feel the barren limbs of the trees, the icy paths and the frozen roofs of houses, through which winter speaks in hushed silence. In my room, as I wander among the ghostly infinity of this silence, I watch the faint golden light from a lavender sun, a word of praise for paint and the warm sun change to copious clouds of lathered foam.
Inside my room, I sit in the shadows of my restorative space and let the day pass in all its storm, noise and paraphernalia. Through the frosted glass of the window, the ice and the breeze, the storm and the calm together paint a picture of symmetry and curiosity, a sacred text where plastic snow beautifully sings in rhymes of silvery caresses.
In its madness and fury, the storm has desperately wandered in opaque abundance, plundering the dead grey grasses, the empty driveways and the labyrinth of the city streets with the wild shriek of a raven. As if in twilight anesthesia, I open the window and reach my hands through the freezing, suffocating scent of smuggled trees and wires, ravaged cars and vanished light.
My children at home watch out for the breeze and the slopes of ice through the misty glass door, singing Christmas rhymes and carols and dancing with the flutter of their angel wings. In the frenzy of the storm, I think of the endless children of the earth, desperately wandering in the garden of winter’s wonderland. I think of the thud, the crash and fall of homes, buildings, trees where some hours back, winter had danced in its verdant musical interludes. I think of the vibrant lives which turned icy and lifeless, buried in the cold bosom of the earth. Looking into the window, I learn, I feel how God has waded through a universe of white ghosts and loneliness of another world.
In the icy, shivering world outside, the city blindly stares at a future of incandescent hope, a wonderland to share with all its inhabitants as it gropes in its crazy December mist, riding beneath the wintry chill. All is calm after the huge, sudden burst of darkness and devouring.
All this while, there is a quiet whisper in the wind: “Spirit of life and death, do protect the water, the earth and the sky. Amen.”
An attempt at ekphrastic poetry, while trying to unravel the magic and mystery of a classic painting by Raja Ravi Verma. Kudos to The Woman Inc Poetry Project, Pooja Garg Singh, editor of WIPP and also to Anu Mahadev, fellow poet and writer for introducing this brilliant weekend writing prompt that celebrates a painter and his art and the writer’s/poet’s interpretation of the work of art.
Shining on, the incandescent flame of her body
And being, resounds in scarlet dreams.
Her shadow, a silhouetted canvas etched
On the door from where she ascends,
Burns slowly in the flame as she
Waxes and wanes, melting with the flame.
The lamp, a mirror to the moonlight,
Crescent and dim, flickers and blazes
In the folds of her lotus palms.
The lamp is her uttered prayers,
Her domestic plate, her rebellion and her cliches.
The flame, a harvest of her love, growing
The wild flower of her blood raging,
She touches the red earth, smoldering
In the smoke and flame, she rises
Smooth, dark, numinous.
Lopa Banerjee. November 2014
So honored and delighted to have this poem published in the ‘Woman Inc Poetry Project’ today! Thank you, Pooja Garg Singh, editor of WIPP and my fellow writer friend, for this. Do visit Issue 1: Nov-Dec 2014 of the online magazine dedicated to the journey of woman through the art of poetry:
Red: Withering, Flickering
A red stream dances in the folds between my lips
Often cracked, chapped, gliding like a boat
Holding remnants of untold tales and washed out desire.
I have bid adieu to the crimson flowers
Of long-lost calf love, dancing, dangling,
Sailing in thirsty kisses of the summer morn.
My body burns up in flame, in my tattered lips
Fury holds me in his embrace. The lipstick
Is an illusion of poignant tales of romance.
In the peeled, dark tissues of my skin,
A red river flows like an endless, sacred journey.
I slip down in her arms, blown away,
Knocked down by her silken ripples.
I go down the river as I listen to her laugh loud,
I listen to her unveil, mock my long torn pages
Of amorous, blushing beauty.
I dance, I let the river run. I am still a delicious nymph,
Quivering, tender, disrobed. My lips, they are
Faltering, withering, reckless, flickering like candlelight,
In dim light, they still whisper the treason of love.
Author’s Note: I wrote this poem as a response to one of the weekend writing prompts in The Woman Inc Poetry Project’s Facebook group. The images in the prompt, ‘red’, ‘lipstick’, ‘river’ tempted me to write this poem and I am extremely happy to present this poem as a dedication to us women, our physical and inner beauty and our unwavering quest for passion.