25 Pins in a packet women creators, Dispossession, How Words Play, Poetry, Translation

‘It Was I’ and other poems by Dolonchampa Chakraborty

 


Perfect Storm

I look at my palm 
It’s full of scars, crosses and half-lines
        Neither money nor the life line is full
        Index finger bends a lot 
Which means I’m not rigid enough

Fingers of my feet are not feminine
A desirable bride would have 
Different set of feet. 

These are my favourite though
    They ran through the paddy fields
    Bent over the pond and picked lotus
    Danced in the rain 
To collect rhythm 
That would later become baskets 
Of rose and gardenia,
I now share with monsoon 

I hold them in the palm of my hands 
Doors of the seashore-huts open 
Children run out 

They come running towards me, 
The water and salt
The wooden boat 
And the grey bundle of clouds

They come running towards a perfect storm
 
The storm that will destroy the lines of nothingness
From every little palm 



Lighthouse
 
I saw you beside the ocean, 
counting steps
Found you inside the lighthouse, 
Seasoning waves
 
Watched you through the storm, 
floating off the shore
 
In my silent cry 
I became the moonlight mirror 
And touched you—pining for more



Obituary 

It’s easy to write an obituary 
Of someone you left unheard
On a footbridge 

The story of an unfinished tree
Brewed with pain of freshly broken leaves
Untold

Drops of rain on your shoes and tie
Half dried by an oblivious bite 
Of a half-eaten moon 
Unseen

It’s easy to write off somebody 
With an obituary 
A death that happened 
By some careless notes of time



Summer 

A well is built beside a temple 
	Between straw houses 

Footsteps are born and erased 
Like daughters 
	And wild flowers
 
Moon-shaped souls 
	Serene, yet dry 
Walk behind their shadows 
Along the fishermen’s cry 



It was I 

The girl who was burnt for dowry today
        It was I 
The girl foetus inside her body which was burnt too
	It was I 
The new-born girl who was abandoned in a trash bag 
        It was I  
They were nobody’s daughter 


The girl who was not paid her daily wage 
       It was I 
The girl who was paid less than her husband 
       It was I 
The girl who was not allowed to join a job
As her husband’s boss
	It was I 
They were nobody’s sister


The girl who was raped by colleagues 
	It was I 
The girl who was molested by an auto driver 
	It was I 
The girl who was pushed to bed by a filmmaker 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s lover 


The girl who wasn’t privileged by her right to education 
	It was I 
The girl who never got the privacy of a healthy sanitation 
	It was I 
The girl who went from one kitchen to the other 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s pride 


The girl who couldn’t practise her right to marry 
	It was I 
The girl who couldn’t practise her right to separate   
	It was I 
The girl who suffered a fruitless marriage 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s wife 


The girl who was sold by one
	It was I 
The girl who was bought by thousands 
	It was I 
The girl who made herself a sex-slave 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s friend 


The girl who sold her womb 
	It was I 
The girl who sold her baby 
	It was I 
The girl who made her baby an orphan 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s shelter 


The girl who was tortured in custody 
	It was I 
The girl who was beaten by a homemaker 
	It was I 
The girl who danced in a strip club 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s armour 


The girl who gulped her tears
	It was I 
The girl who couldn’t shed one 
	It was I 
The girl who got a slap on her tears
	It was I 
They were nobody’s precious  


The girl who slept on a footpath
	It was I 
The girl who slept in old-age home 
	It was I 
The girl who was kept hungry by her son 
	It was I 
They were nobody’s world 


Still, the girl who refuses to lose
	It is I 
The girl who refuses to drown or burn
	It is I 
The girl who fights back to victory
	It is I 
The girl who wants to float and fly 
	It is I 
The girl who is the lover of a gnome
	It is I 
The girl who forgets the obscure junctions 
	It is I 
The girl who pushes the darkness back into oblivion 
	It is I 
It is me who takes your hand and walks with you 
We make a destiny through the late night dew.

It was I and other poems are © Dolonchampa Chakraborty

Dolonchampa Chakraborty graduated in Calcutta and now studies Human Resources in Cornell University, Ithaca. She writes poetry in Bengali and has published two books of poetry. She is a freelance translator and editor working for United Nations, Doctors Without Borders and several other organisations. Her poems have been published in prestigious Indian Literature, a bi-monthly journal by the Sahitya Akademi of India among others. She has been a panelist in the Samanvay Lit Fest. For two years, she has edited The Nilgiri Wagon, a literary journal that focuses on translating literature of Indian and other languages into English. She is passionate about languages. Currently, she is learning Kashmiri and leading a translation project of Syrian Poetry into Bengali.

 

Advertisements