Poem: Leaves off the Grass

whitman death mask
Walt Whitman

By Mitali Chakravarty

Pluck the leaves off the grass.
What remains?
The stalks – bare green veins
that will not cover the Earth

Brown, red, black, white is the dust.
Dust unto Dust; under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer and – sans End!

Green is the grass that grows to hold the Earth,
to give life, to give birth to life,
to perpetrate mankind.

The Martian landscape reddened,
unforgiving, unhistorical, inhospitable,
Did it hate life? Did it know life?

Did it also statues, edifices of the past, break
till the whole landscape,
mutilated by the blood of the unheard,
of the untried, cave into sands
that wiped out life?

Pluck the leaves off the grass
and weep for what will not be.

Pluck the leaves off the grass
and kill. Kill till the Earth crippled
like Mars lies barren, unyielding, lifeless.

Life will come to a halt.

History –
Has it been wiped off? Has time been rewound?

Lalon weeps to see the leaves of the grass die.
He only sings to perpetrate life, mankind –
Love the leaves, the green,
the brown, the red, the white, the black …

Time cannot be turned back.

Mitali Chakravarty is a writer and editor. She writes and edits with the hope of creating an equitable world that transcends borders for the future of mankind and her great grandchildren. In that spirit, she runs an online monthly called Borderless Journal. She has been widely anthologised and published. She has a book of essays, In the Land of Dragons (2014), on living in China where she resided for eight years. Her life revolves as a mother and wife around her two sons and husband.


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “Poetics and politics of the ‘everyday’: Engaging with India’s northeast”, edited by Bhumika R, IIT Jammu and Suranjana Choudhury, NEHU, India.

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