"Maps, Monsoons and Mirrors", "Unsung" and "Brahmaputra Bleeds" : Poems by Rini Barman

Maps, Monsoons and Mirrors
Cripples of a patchy drizzle,
that phenomenal night
The tower peeps into a trail,
Lightnings of homicides,
under the silence of smoke,
Sometimes, need recess;
A new history teacher
that phenomenal night,
Gathers her modern India books, horrified,
“Where is the tale of my vistas,
the childhood rains beside emerald rivulets
the alcoves of areca palms,
where are the vestiges of silkworms,
the notebook paper boats,
Kanaklata, Lachit Barphukan,
Madhav Kandali,
A heritage sung since ages?”
Murmurs one cartographer -
that phenomenal night,
“Torn lands and handicapped maps need no wear,
Why stain our human atlases,
with barbaric forests upon humid
As a matter of fact,
When glared from a picturesque
Everybody is an animal.
One ape more animalistic than the other;
The history teacher overrides her
forbidden fear,
Among the ancient, medieval piles,
a matchstick flame,
she lets fires of modern world burn,
With her fountain pen,
sets to write another history,
That phenomenal night,
“I am not a spectre yet,
you cannot make me one,
I speak from the land you have
always forsaken,
A rememory of injured kites".


Where are you,
Where is the flag of survivors,
silently plucking sallow leaves of tea,
Where is the fat leech sucking blood for free,
fatter than newspaper ink bottles
that blacken so carmine a fury…

Where disappears lakhs of pleas,
amidst routes traced by the federal tree,
Those hatching mini isotopes of uranium235,
in mansions, in suburbs too friendly,
Yet, where are we?

Where are you now,
Where in the throat, exactly, do you reach
As you gulp in,
Cocktails of plastic explosives?

With which eraser do you blot
The lethal human-foetus rampage,
Now drowned in salts of a toxic sea
Where have we scribbled,
unheard traumas of the everyday knee…

Where does it sail to,
The steel strait of a limitless enemy,

Where are you?
Where are we…

Brahmaputra Bleeds

I cannot speak,
They give me no voice
They refuse to hear me
Every time I flow
I laugh at human folly
Friends! Erase this dark fear
Come! Hear my melancholy;
Waving farewell to the Mansarovar
Like an artery, I enter this land, green and grassy
Pregnant with yellow fertile silt
Blue and glistening pure, I am,
They have called me the ‘red’ river,
Drawn me as a landmark on the map
Which I realise is a cruel farce!
They have
Acquainted me with spilled blood
Of sprouting school children,
I can’t forget how much I wept
When these merry cities were bombarded
yelling widows, sisters and mothers now childless
Left only with bitter memories and hazy ashes;
Naïve humans they are, they blame me of Floods ,
I call it an excuse
I can mirror the million pockets filled...
Out of some corrupt minds seeking vengeance
Through inhumane strategies so well craft
Blame game and this blood bath!
Death! I can no more carry your phantom trolley
O dear! Hear my melancholy…
They have washed their nasty hands off me
And sung eastern songs panegyric
Dumped in me victims of sadist policies…
Come! hold my dejected hands…
Or sit beside my banks
Swallow my tears,
Terror! You have made me weary
O dear! Embrace my arms
Sing my melancholy…

- Rini Barman, New Delhi

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