Friday, March 31, 2006

The Sea II

The sea is calm tonight
a subdued hiss of foam
lapping at black crag

Tangled seaweed lurks
where the water is large
and full of life

It's been a while
since we last walked here

I ran a tickle up your arm
softly, in the dark
and you shivered.

The stars stared down clear
a distinct shiny point, each one

Yes, it's been a while

Tonight, the sea is calm
I taste its salt.

© Anindita Sengupta

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Absalom to the King

There is no light here. Strange, I see fire,
Dark fire blazing, burning a black sky. Why is blood black after dusk?
There is a tree here. Strange, I hear its soul beg,
From its captive hairless acorns to its spreading roots.

Here are my reasons:

For one filled with words and songs, why do you
Choose to be tone deaf to my voice?
For one so blessed, why am I
Chosen to be your darkest punishment?

Oh how the mighty have fallen, from rooftops
To bedrooms to killing fields, leaving
Slaughtered minds, bleeding wombs, dead sons
And ravished daughters.

Old man, wear your scars proud,
The moon tonight hides her face in darkness
Reflecting my naked rage
As I defile your house that was once ours.

Oh how far the young have run, from cold hearth
To alien lands to burning fields, running
For the glimpse of a face, ravaged by guilt,
Yet yearning for forgiveness.

Old man, songs of remorse do not give
The right to vengeance, so sing another tune,
Remain still, be still and know,
My rage is your sword that will smite you.

This is my revenge.

There is no light here. Dark corners of rage rise from the pit
And ask you this Father: Do you still not fear the death vale?
For you will see me forever, burning forever,
Burning for you for you did not burn for me.

Monday, March 20, 2006


A Dialogue
Come back, come back, come back.

Haunt my silence, break through
The roar of voices whispering
‘Move on’ and ‘Let go’

Come back, come back, come back,
Come back to me, don’t leave.

(Who cut the guitar strings?
Who burnt the pages of my black diary last night?)

Be my private wind
That fans the fiery fumes of my memory,
Scatters the ashes of my alveoli,
Breathes, oh god, breathes

Come back, come back, come back,
Come back to me, don’t leave.

(Did I cut them to be part of your silence?
Did I burn them to kill my voice?)

Be the teardrop in my black sky,
The wail in my silence;
Remember me, remember me,
Breathe, so I may return to you

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Just Dead

This poem is featured in Esther Morgan's short list in her Poetry Workshop for February in The Guardian UK. Here's the link:,,1724956,00.html


So this is what it means to be dead.
Not much to it, save a certain lightness,
a vague nothing to get used to,
with the day an uniform whiteness
and nights not black but reduced to
a nondescript grey, the colour of lead.

But I know that’s wrong, even as I use
the settled nomenclature of the living.
Those quotidian certitudes must yield
to softer lines, an idiom more forgiving
of imprecision: nascent word revealed
in inchoate thing. And so I cruise

in this otherworld where meaning
makes no sense, without a name –
for ghost after all is earthspeak
like all the rest, and it’s not the same;
while time lies still over this bleak
landscape, beyond hope of a greening.

It suits me well, this strange vacuity
of place and purpose, my only quest
being one of definition: for words
are cognates no longer here, at best
fickle fingerposts pointing towards
a fooling spurious continuity.

Reason fails in this uncertain light,
and language gropes with tenuous roots.
And all the fixities that life defined
are no more than extinct truths,
an irrelevant construct of the mind –
and I’m not sure that mind is right.


Friday, March 17, 2006

The Sea

After the voices,
lingers the malignant odour
of time
and the sickly-sweet smell of fear
and secrets huddled in closets
and shiny, patented self-doubt

This quiet journey into oneself
is muddy and breaking
as sea water.

I cannot do it
I must not do it.

Strip away the whorls
of should and must and have
and the raw, blinding cry of Medusa

What you saw and learnt was false
What you heard and fought was false
What you loved and lost
was also false

A vacuous stare
lips slackly held askew
a tremble, a shudder

And after those layers,
a bony skull, two eyepits
where previously dreams danced

This is all it comes to
This is all it comes to
in the end.

*inspired by John Banville's book, The Sea

Friday, March 10, 2006

"In tumult" [boomerang poem]

The days when I may wander in the evening are returning
I have perhaps some while yet to tarry on the earth
they say there's wondrous order in the play of death & birth
some claim the world is fashioned as a school for lovely learning
but reason's insufficient to produce the rhyme of mirth
for reasons under reasons hide   like waves whose restive churning
describes a heart in tumult   such a heart dwells in my girth
the days when I may wander in the evening are returning


AD.(double click on pic for higher reso) Posted by Picasa

She slithers
through the night
and hides
the grim grime

as the city glitters
and bears
a false smile

soul-dead inside;

A baby wails
behind locked doors
its business as usual
as the Limos roll;
Her mother's heart
trips, the tight vice

'Its money

He snorts at her.
'Get in the car,
do some bz'ness,
part your legs
then you can go,

the baby wails

locked doors.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Tenebrae - Songs of Darkness

Consumed by Fire

*Deus, in adiutorium meum intende. Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina.

Every word an eternal fire
And yet you think I have forgotten
All dewdrops that fell from your lips long ago –
Oh but I merely long
For litanies, to alchemize these to icicles,
That I may burn my memories in this wilderness
With your light.

The Death of Fire

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, mine acquaintance is darkness.

How desolate this place is
Yet no more than the space I left behind,
The fires lit by others I kill blaze by blaze -
Oh but I merely wish
Forgetfulness, to throw your face in shadows,
That I may quench all hopes of resurrection of lust and longing
In your light.

Broken Music

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? Shall the dead arise and praise thee?

The canticle melts into the darkness
And the notes fall like tears from the night sky,
Lonely, gasping, torn asunder from the word –
Oh but I merely desire
The death of voices, to silence expression,
That I may hide behind veils, stone walls, and my eyes
Without your light.


I have come into deep waters and the torrent washes over me.

The words I longed to tell you breathe their end
They drown in the tears you held in your eyes when I left,
They flit in the space that I imagined was you –
Oh but I will delude you no longer
There will never be a turning back, a return to you,
That I don’t repeat this loss, this dying of music
In the murder of our light.

*O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.


is the colour
of devotion.

Cover your head
This thin translucence
will protect you

Laugh softly,
and softly walk
like gentle rain

Pull a smile
across the thin lines
of your face

Wear modest pastels
Never scream,
my grandmother said

mother, barely twelve
with scuffed knees
and trees to climb still
laughed and jounced out
to adopt stray dogs

Forty years gone

Time sprints like
running water
or quicksilver
and disperses what it must

But some things remain.

Don't wear shorts, look down
slouch so your breasts
don't really show
tie your hair back
keep the boys calm

cross your legs -
Be cheerful always
please don't scream

I with scuffed knees at twelve,
dungarees at eighteen
and lovers lost,
reclaimed, discarded
like driftwood
by twenty one

could never listen
with exactitude

I wear red
My eyes are dark
Sometimes, I scream.