Tuesday 31 May 2022

Three Poems by Dr. Ajanta Paul




I have seen eyes that are

Like bits of beached glass

Hiding secrets of passages


On surging surf,

Carried far and wide 

By the random tide


Buffeted and buffed, opaque

In their secrecy, edges smoothed

By the constant slap of sloshing waves.


I have seen eyes that are hard

Like flint stones

Grey in their neutrality,


But ready to leap

Into fire at the hint

Of friction.


And those like chips of ice floes

Broken off some implacable glacier,

Which, flowing downstream got locked


In a river, inscrutable and old,

Where no ships docked

And nothing was ever bought or sold. 



Live, one Last Time


Push that syringe of sunshine

Into a body mouldy, veins musty

With blood that no longer sings


But croaks in patched plumbing

Like frost in kitchen pipes,

A bleak, bass, wintry tune


In the corporeal chorus of blues,

Accompanying the decline of all

Save longing for life.


The mahonias are overflowing

In the ebony vase of the night,

Their irresistible fragrance calls


Out to her: Breathe, breathe,

Inhale my sweet breath

Into your decaying sheath.


Let nothing, and no one

Come in the way

Of a feisty fightback


For you deserve, at least, a last revival,

Even if it's a blasphemous bacchanal,

A rebellious riot of resurgence,


A fleeting show of spirit

Before the final farewell

In life's ephemeral festival.



A Late Flowering


It was a late flowering

Long past its time.

Don't you see, the boughs


Are gnarled, they pointed out.

Moreover, there's a time for everything,

And this tree is past its prime.


When blossoms should have flowed forth

In cascades of froth

She was a like a cactus


Caught in her strange desert truth,

A whispering, wasted whirl 

In a sterile spiral.


When the first bud came along

She thought it was a fluke,

One of those things,


Not really a sign of hope,

No, not at all.

She was proved wrong


With the burst of song

That scattered its melody

On the withered being


Everyone had given up on

And no one suspected of

Gestating such glory, unbeknown,


A harvest sown

In the soul's due season

And miraculously produced when


She came into her own,

With rare profusion

Of sap and sapience.


A home for birds to nest in,

And insects to breed their dynasties

In the flutter and flight of little lives.


She who had been written off,

Long ignored, but for estimates

Of firewood yield


Assumed an aureole of flaming sparks

In imagination's bower 

As words flowered in destiny's dower.

Dr. Ajanta Paul is a poet, short story writer and literary critic who is currently Principal and Professor of English at Women's Christian College, Kolkata. A Pushcart nominee, her poems and short stories have been featured in literary journals such as Spadina Literary Review, The Pangolin Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Verse-Virtual, The Piker Press, Harbinger Asylum, Shot Glass Journal, Written Tales Magazine, The Bombay Review, The Statesman and Setu Bilingual Journal, to name a few. Ajanta has also published a collection of short stories - The Elixir Maker and Other Stories in 2019 (Authorspress, New Delhi). 


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