Poems by Jagari Mukherjee

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RIVERS

Should I multiply or divide my soul
in rivers under sheltering domes?
I have left bits of me
in the Elbe and the Rhine.
I have left liquid tears
in the lighted Seine.
Paris, Berlin, Dresden —
each city is an epic, a tome.
In rose gardens in the day
or beer-gardens at night
I have ranged and roamed.

The Torsa river danced for me
in the Himalayan Thimpu valley;
in Calcutta, the city of rallies
a vast Hooghly flows.
On the banks of Huron in Ann Arbor
I gathered acorns, and in Chicago
I blew a kiss to Lake Michigan.
My soul has mingled
with the essence
of each sheltering river;
I have lived with every one
like a lover at his home.

 

CHOICE

1

Two of my brothers
turned into ashes

2

One urn was immersed
in Haridwar,
the other in Calcutta

3

I have begged
Mother Ganga’s pardon
for choosing the
Arabian Sea for me instead

and guaranteeing
a Mumbai vacation
for mourners
with a lamplit sojourn
at Land’s End.

Note: Land’s End is the last point of Marine Drive, Mumbai

 

DALI AND THE COFFEE HOUSE*

1

At the west side of the
isle of the dead
a couple with their
heads full of clouds
played out the coffee house
scene in Madrid.
The waiter, a soft monster,
brought them fried egg
on the plate without the plate
and two pieces of bread.

2

He stood across the street
from the cathedral of thumbs
and drew a self-portrait
of the artist in studio,
listening to the invisible harp.
I think honey is sweeter
than blood, he conceded,
expressing the sentiment of love.

*The lines of the poem are taken from titles of paintings by Salvador Dali

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Jagari Mukherjee is a poet and writer from Kolkata, India. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Pune, and was awarded a gold medal and several prizes by the University for excelling in her discipline. Her writings, both poetry and prose, have appeared in several newspapers, magazines, journals, anthologies, and blogs. Her first book, a collection of poems entitled Blue Rose, was published in May 2017 by Bhashalipi. She is DAAD scholar (2005), Bear River 2018 alumna, and winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 (book review).

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