The Ghaat Within

On October 15, 2015 by admin

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Biswadeb Mukhopadhay

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This is a poet of circularity—of the potter’s wheel, the rotund staircase, local implements like the maku and the turpun, the chakravyuh, the foundation-stone, the navel, the chalice, planetary orbits, the vortex in the pond—such motifs reappear. This is also a poet who believes that each creation, including the very idea of I, owes itself to the superimposition of the wave function of individual particles, continuously taking shape all around us. Thereafter all kinds of permutations and associations are possible. Sometimes that happens through vaak, through which we exchange bhava. Bhava is a many-valued proposition, a hypothesis which we may also give the name of wonder. Poetry gives shape to wonderment, and so it plays sounds and particles that stay in the nooks and niches of our everyday existence. This exchange of wonderment may sometimes prove incommensurable within the frameworks of our relationalities but it is not impossible to work that out.

Perhaps poetry comes closest to bridging this incommensurability. The poet knows that the all scenes of marvel and wonderment are taking place within a smallish planet called earth, revolving around a mid-sized star in the milky-way. The poet has to forever be aware that art’s source and canvas is finally, the universe itself.  The poet’s life, therefore, is a kind of sadhana, the same as that of the scientist.  This sadhana, a repetition and an augmentation at the same time, is also a function of a perpetual flux: one that runs between the inner universe of our subjectivity and the outer, galactic presence.  Does one travel from thought to mind, or is it the reverse? Do one and one make two or does the very idea of one envelop all duality within it? Does the brahmanda reside within our anubhavas or do anubhavas amass as entropy in this cosmos?

We come back to the circular. The new returns, as the poet rearranges syntax, breaking form— again and again. He also renews an ancient bond with all that is the heart’s—apparently forgotten and left out, and yet all the time, they travel with us and with this our rushing planet. Characteristically, his poem titled Address, from the collection Pa Rekhechhen Parom (Parom Sets his Feet), concludes in this manner—

Biswa

Brahmanda post-office

Zila Birbhum.

 

———————————————-

 

Sorrows and Grandma

 

In your next life, like kakurs you shall hang on kakur trees

Saying this, my grandma

Once blessed sorrow

 

It’s difficult to say why she did this, may be since

It never left us even in times of great distress. Reasons apart,

We are told—

That since that day, thus proliferated

This our immense fruit garden

 

Some utterances work like a mantra

Though after this

Grandma said so many other things as well —placing her palm on didi’s head

She had said: “Be a Rajrani.” To me too

She had said something, and engraved with baba’s name

That mannat-pebble still dangles in the Peer’s abode.

Baba is no more.

 

This our sorrow and grandma’s tale

We may also call it poetry, if we wish.

If you are doubtful, why don’t you visit us around twilight someday?

Come, sit around this our courtyard. You’d see

How leaden darkness descends slowly, slowly…

 

And right underneath the kakur-tree macha

You’d spot, dangling

Dark black, tall long, just-like-that sorrows

and their fledgling little brood.

***

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Kalighat Temple

 

No legroom in the temple, because everyone

brings sins befitting his means, hence, the hustle

to unburden those

is also acute.

 

One man supplicates, as if to cede

All his depravity, another flings a coin

And a third, anointing himself

in temple-dust, smeared with tears

Says, “All my sins I hand over to you thakur.”

 

As prescribed, in clusters

The disciples return each to their homes

But Hari! Hari!

The same stony weight each still carries within!

 

Then

More darkness

Descends on the temple-precinct

Roams alone, forlorn

In Kali-kshetra, only a dog despondent.

***

 

Ghani

 

At the end of a long day’s trek

Evening at a Kohlu’s house

 

There, Kohlu’s daughter, standing with a lantern,

Lights up the well-side. On the raised deck

Water in a brass urn, a folded gamchha,

And a footstool standing by.

 

Moorland Hertalpur

Dusk drops in torrents there

Afar, the thuggee village…

That horned moon now, splits open the kaash grove—

 

The nightlong pestle rotates in the starry courtyard

Tup

Tup

Honey-like sounds.

 

In the morning

an ancient earthen pot brims with oil.

***

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Tanti Colony’s Sleepy Time

 

There spins the spindle, the bobbin whirrs

So late at night. Arre O Paban, in the tant-room

Why weave so frantic baap?

Won’t you hit the sack? In the room, dust swirls

Busy rats, yonder the rusty handle of an

Old umbrella, chaupaya, pillow-wrapped

Blanket, tattered rugs…

Through the low lying windows, afar, strings of roofs

 

Bolted door. Sleep.  Encompassing Dhanekhali, Shantipur

Hums the sound of tant, tant spins, someone weaves tant.

***

 

Contentment

 

Some go in darkness, some go in shadow

At lantern’s end children are from lessons distracted

There is only babel.

 

The babbling stays close, so

Sitting at evening’s portico

A few kinsfolk chat, contented.

 

***

 h

The Husk

 

Like a pillow cover, one day, a swift wrench

shall invert me.

 

Steadily the hand wreathes.

Flakey cotton swabs underneath

Fog’s unique body…

All through the night

The inside turns out, the outside in.

***

 

Ghaat

 

Who is that who scrubs dishes all night?

Is the ghaat lodged inside the body?

Yes, the ghaat is lodged inside the body!

 

***

 

Path

 

If the insect decides to traverse the path obverse

To the old-man’s, will it by and by re-enter the body

As the ancient sperm-tick?

The old-man trudges northward

Toward the embedded insect inquiry.

***

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The Listener

 

From two throbbing meatballs emanate

Joy’s ether-waves

 

In the middle, sprawls a cosmic termination

Dust-particles cipher-like. Unconnected…

 

In a distant observatory

Beep…beep—the sound luscious. Eyes downcast

On his own

In the radio-receiving machine engrossed nightlong

The scientist-professor Jagadish…

***

 

Sankirtan/Chanting

 

Witness to endless comings, goings

The composed nischindi tree stands firm—a lifetime

This evening

Grasping its boughs and limbs, turned restive, fervid

Kangal Harinath

 

All day he has littered leaves

Right at this moment the wind says—fall, drop, swish.

Around the portly moon

Both hands aloft

Perhaps now he will begin singing—

“Harinath chants

Roll out on the yard

The Bengal shatrancho…”

 

Twilight-night

As we speak

Moonlight-shatranchi on the courtyard spreads

Dusty feet, eyes downcast, there—the choric voice—

Listen, O blind one

Sound the srikholok

Loop the khanjani, loop it…

***

 stones

 

Some Days Bereavement Within

All sorrows

Somedays, stripped of their saffron

Slip into dark alkhallas

 

Bereavement

Plays within

 

Log fire, rice-cakes…

No scales, fins in the kitchen the whole day

 

The whole day scruffy, windswept

 

Some days when afternoons

Are poised right in the middle of the pond,

The rear-door creaks open.

 

Some days

The whole courtyard suffused

The courtyard wholly suffused

With Ma’s absence.

***

 

The Last Journey

 

Nightlong someone stays.

In the dark someone stands.

Four pall-bearers know him.

Every day they acquiesce to his whim

The one who has left all that was dear

Illusion’s quiet sphere

 

In the dark someone stays.

In the fog someone stands.

With his piercing, sprawling eyes

In time, he shall take back

Everything he shall take back.

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