Poetry editor ANANYA S GUHA’s note: Daisy Barman‘s poems are earthy, redolent of rural and rustic life. There is nostalgia and yearning in her poems. The poems move directly in associated speech, as if the in conversation with someone. Her poems are confessional, but in such confessions life rural Assam is evoked with clarity. The poems may appear simple, but in them there is a tradition of rural and folk poetry. Enjoy these poems!
An eerie midnight, so whispers the clock.
Sleep kisses and vanishes.
I’ve no pal to talk, but worthy cigarettes.
The steady ashtray stands watchful.
Each cigarette-butt put in its wide mouth
avers how many times I fell from the pier of gaudy crowd.
The curls dance up in fickle rhythm
In the wintry cold room.
I hear none, none hears me.
But I sense the soaring sound
Of each gyrating movement of my mother’s barhoni
Coming to me.
Each morning she would sweep
The earthy yard to keep it clean.
I heard from a distance
She cleaned the yard for me.
So I could crawl, play and dream.
The silvery evenings lingered on her chadar.
On the murha, she sat to narrate me stories.
I mistook her for Paanexoi and Tejimola
Her lips versed their cries.
I could see their despair, their hope
Becoming words in her eyes.
How I long for the smell of raw earth!
For it is there that the imprints of my mother’s feet lie.
The yard that she swept for me
So I could crawl, play and dream.
In a decade which still seems a jiffy
I lost my mother and I lost the yard.
Now I have a concrete room decorated with her memories
But without a yard.
I’m done playing and still dreaming.
The yard that I crawled is a blurry
Canvas steeped in past
That I scribble on,
With an ashtray before me.
Smoke dances in the song of silence
And I look for words.
To dip in, to fuse in,
To smell the earthy smell.
To defeat time.
And relive the tales of soil
In my mother’s eyes. Again. Anew.
The beige-hued curtain swaying
in the fog-capped evening
evokes a moon-soaked image
from my home.
Through the clay-smeared bamboo walls
of the kitchen, breathed the jejune
earthen crocks. The gourd-shells heedfully
stored the moonlight from my
aunt’s eyelids in the dark.
The crimson of the sunset
dawdled on her back
that smelled like ripe guava.
Her sighs in the gust
rippled on the pond
pond in her heart
Her heart in the fables untold.
She pampered the loom
The loom giggled at her touch
little marvel, little thrill that
lessened the sky encumbered
wind onerous. The shuttle
sketched dreams for her.
Her spry fingers touched the sapless
firewood for day and night
Did her heart become sapless too?
I sense the sobs shoaling faster.
Seasons alter and you get older.
I rub the neat windowpane
There’s no cow-dung, no clay.
Does the loom still giggle
or it bears a grudge?
The image wouldn’t disperse
For my memory has it homed
I have no loom
but seedlings of verse
hatched for the future
for my daughter
of the past forlorn
of memory’s tethered trudge!
LIGHT IS DARK NOW
I step out of the room every night
The vacuum pangs are too heavy to carry
so is the allure of a night as though
it would tell stories.
Hours strike sporadically in the dark.
Longing for an embrace,
lost aroma, lost senses
lost memory and lost faces.
Light is dark now.
There are figures treading along in my forehead
Glittering in the dark
I see them walking on broken mirror.
Who are they humming in the distant cave,
restlessly waiting for sun rays?
I’m actually looking for the screaming owls
lost in the smoke from incense sticks
I’m looking for the old people
amid their old pains.
My deep breaths…make their
weary sighs even clearer.
Resting on my knees in the open meadow
I pray. Pray for them.
May no morning ever turn out to be hapless!
THE WONDER FLOWER
In between our moves in the dim room
it blossomed and startled me like a hushed bee.
Fastening his breaths onto my skin
I embraced the holy gift.
The wonder flower it was!
It thrived in my longing lips
and hurled his whispers
on my unraveled world beneath.
My vagrant soul feels a sense of home since.
Something clamps the heart
Exploding my existence
Like steaming lava
The cry of silence in grudge
Like the leaves of peepul tree
On the bank of our river
My body shivers.
The wind shatters the inside
And in the inside of the inside
The smidgens of dream lay abandoned.
I float like a thick smoke.
The shadows guffaw in gloom.
I hear its husky whispers.
Before I am distilled entirely
I am consumed by a dream-like trance.
I will sow some of your affection
in the barren garden
And the tales of the alive past.
I will dream again
Of you carrying the sought-for sun
Every next morning
After a tempestuous night.
If I am to live, you have to be reborn
If I am to have a life, you have to be the synergy and the soul.
(About Daisy Barman: Hailing from the backwaters of Baksa district in Assam Daisy Barman writes both in English and Assamese. She writes poems to calm her soul. She is a Doctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Folklore Research in Gauhati University.)