miércoles, agosto 01, 2007

Three Poems From Srinjay Chakravarti


Where the straits are perilous, more hungry spittle. . .
The ghosts gather, a shimmer on the waves.

-- Meng Chiao, Sadness of the Gorges
(Trans. by A.C. Graham)

The tide foams at the river's mouth,
wind contrapuntal in a threnode
of susurrant sorrow.

Mermaids, drowned in air, gasp
for water: they abandon
their spindrift of spittle
at the white waves of the estuary.
The water is as briny as tears.

Coming to drink there,
ghosts of sailors exhale
wisps of smoke.
They return home
as thirsty as they always were.

Where the valley yawns,
cold breezes from the north
sough through ivory trees,
petrified pillars stained
with weeping starlight.
The leaves of the forest
tremble under the weight of dewdrops
as they condense in the chill air
into the white jade of memories.

This is the hour of seances.
The soul escapes its moorings,
loss its only cargo
as it flees across the dream-dark sea.

The surf has beaten its head, grieving,
on the rocks throughout the long night.
The blue twilight is fugued:
with wind and spume,
river and rain.


Kaminis, white belles of dusk
with fragrant bodies
swaying to an aeolian rhythm,
their laughter scattered
in splashes of moonlight
on the grey-green bushes.

While kanchans nod
their gold-blond heads
musk-scented skin
soaking in the bejewelled melody
tinkling on the feet
of night's nautch girls.

This is the paradise
for emperors and monarchs,
satyrs and cardinals.

Saying it with flowers,
and butterflies:
petalled wings of pleasure,
on the hinges of which

delicate dreams unfold
and sleep.

Kamini: a pale nocturnal flower; also means 'woman' in Sanskrit
Kanchan: another evening flower, often with yellow blossoms; also a
term for 'gold' in Sanskrit


Your questions float in the air
of the embargoed room, nebulae
in the dark night of my trespass.

"What do I do?
How do I make my living?"
I work nights
walking on air,
harvesting galaxies
with a sickle moon.

Yesterday, near the collapsar
at Andromeda, I met
a girl with a golden silhouette.
In the shadow she cast
on the trapeze of silver gossamer,
I could see a white hole
where her heart should have been.
I could see right through it
to the other end of the universe.

I asked her, sotto voce,
"Where do you come from,
and where do you go?"

She gave no reply,
only pointed a finger
at the Milky Way
and turned into a river
flowing with sand.

Now I was standing in a desert
twilight, the turquoise silence
of countless candles.
She had become the stars
in the black sky of my eyes.

Srinjay Chakravarti is a 34-year-old journalist, economist and poet based in Salt Lake City, Calcutta, India. His poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications in over 25 countries. His first book of poems, Occam's Razor, (Writers Workshop, Calcutta) received the SALT literary award from from John Kinsella and a literary trust in Melbourne, Australia. Absolutely straight and square, he is a teetotaller (no nicotine, no caffeine, no drugs), never married, a celibate and loves it that way!

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