Poems by Gopal Lahiri

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MOTHER COURAGE

I was not strong, rather meek and shy,
Saw my mother catching wind between palms,
Trying to hold me
while lighting the dusk lamp,

The mellow sun greeted her resilience, her bravery,
Stroking at the edge of her Bengal cotton sari,
Not knew,
the reason of sadness flooding her body.

Her voice then dropped to a low whisper,
Knitted her own window
until it opened,

The tumult buried inside, those eyes blazing,
Sacred bells still
ringing inside the temple,

Evening stars appeared on their own,
chants rose to the sky,
A tricolour up on the pole,
Hailed my mother free and fathomless.

RIVER

There is colour in all of us.

Now the sun begins to move and
the sky turns from mauve to pale purple,
Tentative, transient, even unreal

Everything changes rapidly,
From these shades of grey and grey, in the end
The darkness paints us all

Unknown birds fly in a zone of sodium vapour,
Bats begin to scan and scuffle around,
Eyes shut tight in anticipation

The time lives through,
Glides merrily to pass the night

There is river in all of us.

CALLS AND ANSWERS

Spoken voices now dip in silence,

Covered with filigree work, the god and goddess
Wrapped in silk cloths, in splendour,
Stand on the raised stone platform,

Someone lights up the stone lamps, blows the conch shell,
Outside the moon is full and bright, shining
Over the Tulsi plant on the courtyard.

A cold wind blows over,

Chanting mantras go around, reverberate
The melody sounds medieval,

I stand motionless,
Not knowing these calls and answers.

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Gopal Lahiri was born and grew up in Kolkata, India. He is a bilingual poet, writer, editor, critic and translator and published in Bengali and English language. He has had seven collections of poems in Bengali and eight collections in English and edited one anthology of poems. His poetry is also published across various anthologies as well as in eminent journals of India and abroad. He is the recipient of the Poet of the Year Award in Destiny Poets, UK, 2016.

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