Three Poems by Nabanita Sengupta

Painting: Sandy Tracey

By Nabanita Sengupta

Being the ideal woman/ citizen

First, cut off your tongue.
Let no words escape
no question raised.
Or if you cannot –

Chew your words
Swallow! Gulp!
and when they rise again
chew the cud

To be bovine is blessed
And to be blind
the real heaven.


Celebrating Freedom 

Beneath the painted sky
where celebrations run amok
none can see the eclipse
that has devoured the sun.

Freedom is an illusion
handed down in
expensive wrappers –
its blinding glitter
piercing the eye
yet soothing the craving heart

Freedom is the name
of ‘Hollow men’
somewhere singing of
some garbled equality,
of a benevolent humanity
in the drone of bumble bees

Freedom lives
In powerhouses,
or in an alternate reality.


There will be no poetry this rain

let there be no poetry this rain –
dark clouds that once poured melody
will not sing of piya’s Malhar
but of water seeping through cracked roofs
and another day of business gone
and a hunger that’s real
and of death and disease

there will be no song of love
for love has taken a sabbatical
in a world of single-minded pursuit
of a survival, more difficult
than any acquired knowledge of rocket science

there will not be kisses any more
for Silence has frowned upon
those moving lips, scolded
them shut
replaced poetry with a sullen prose

But still, there will be songs
Each time the clouds pour out their heart
Each time the rains wrench out from the deep dregs of a pining heart
There will be a silent song
That will mourn an assassinated love.

Dr. Nabanita Sengupta is assistant professor of English at Sarsuna College, affiliated to the University of Calcutta. Her areas of specialization are 19th century travel writings, women’s studies, translation studies, and disability studies. Some of her translated short stories have been published, the latest contribution being in the Anthology of Modern Bengali short stories published by the Sahitya Akademi. Her creative writings have also been published at various places like Muse, etc. She has also participated in various national and international seminars. She may be contacted at


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2 thoughts

  1. Irish translation by Gabriel Rosenstock of BEING THE IDEAL WOMAN /CITIZEN

    An Bhean Chóir/ An Saoránach Cóir

    Do theanga a theascadh ar dtús.
    Ná lig siolla ar bith éalú
    ná hardaigh ceist.
    Murar féidir sin a dhéanamh –

    Slog na focail
    siar! Sin é!
    Agus nuair a thagann siad aníos
    bí ag cogaint na círe.

    Aoibhinn bheith id’ bhó
    ró-aoibhinn bheith
    dall ar fad.


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