By Ajanta Paul
Song of Survival
The moonlight probes my soul
With its cold, glinting, steel instruments
Turning the torch into its dark corners
Unearthing the roots of old memories
With the dried earth of feeling
Still clinging onto them.
I come adrift from my known being
Into an empty, echoing surge of silence
Of haunting tunes, dispossessed
Of melody, a mad medley
That rises from the ragas of rage
To become my song of survival.
An anthem of anger and anguish
That spills its liquid notes
In silver eddies of celestial light
Weaving sight with insight
Amidst the crashing waves
Of a swelling symphony.
Rhythm of Resurrection
I feel birdsong in my pores
scattering the blueness of the skies
through my tangled topographies of torpor
as I struggle into greenness
after a hundred years’ hiatus,
a long hibernation in heat and hurt.
The grey fog is lifting
the air is becoming clearer.
The kelp forests in my seas
are rejuvenating slowly,
opening their arms again
to bristle worms, fish, and brittle stars.
The coral reef of my bones,
stopping short of becoming
a white skeleton of its former self –
stiff, dead and useless –
rejoices instead in its reversal of rheumatism
as it upholds and buffers me from stress.
The mangrove trees branching
out of my hands are rearing their bent backs
and tossing their locks in a victorious dance
shaking off the pain of an ecological trance
as they begin to throng again
with a vibrant, unseen life.
The blue-green algae again congealing
is miraculously sprouting in my lungs
mining its aureoles for the darkness of ages
sifting the soot of carbon memories
and calcified hope with the breath
that is balm for my soul.
The tropical rainforest in my heart
is gathering, leaf by leaf, bud by bud
into its gloom-gladness of grace,
its haunting, hybrid, humid habitat
teeming with reviving species
as it throbs with the rhythm of resurrection.
Dr. Ajanta Paul is an academician, administrator, critic, poet and author, currently Principal & Professor of English at Women’s Christian College, Kolkata, India. She has published several books of criticism and imaginative literature including The Elixir Maker and Other Stories (Authorspress, 2019). She has been featured in print magazines and online journals including Youth Times, The Telegraph Colour Magazine, The Statesman, The Bengal Post, Setu Bilingual Journal, Teesta Review: A Journal of Poetry, Millennium Post and Magic Diary Initiative.
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