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MyStory Winners – Poetry

30th October 2019

Tata Literature Live! MyStory Contest Winners – Poetry

 

Below are the winners selected by a jury independent of the number of public votes they received.

 

Phantom Roots
by Asmita Patwardhan

Some odd trees grow in quicksands,
Taking birth in drowning hands,
Growing in agitated, viscous soil,
Roots nourished by turmoil,
Rising to unprecedented heights,
Uprooted, transplanted, taking flights,
Fighting survival in alien worlds,
Struggling barks, twisted, swirled,
Roots saturated with memories of strife,
Battling branches grab sunlight,
Time relents, skies turn sunny and blue,
An evergreen canopy basks in full bloom,
Yet the tree weeps silent tears and cries,
A niggling wound gnaws at it’s insides,
Phantom roots, still fight the old quicksand,
The tree now, stands in a lush grassland,
Even if the limbs are gone and long forgotten,
The pain is real, scorching and molten,
Douse today, every searing, burning ember,
Severed limbs tend to infest the mind forever. Roots
Some odd trees grow in quicksands,
Taking birth in drowning hands,
Growing in agitated, viscous soil,
Roots nourished by turmoil,
Rising to unprecedented heights,
Uprooted, transplanted, taking flights,
Fighting survival in alien worlds,
Struggling barks, twisted, swirled,
Roots saturated with memories of strife,
Battling branches grab sunlight,
Time relents, skies turn sunny and blue,
An evergreen canopy basks in full bloom,
Yet the tree weeps silent tears and cries,
A niggling wound gnaws at it’s insides,
Phantom roots, still fight the old quicksand,
The tree now, stands in a lush grassland,
Even if the limbs are gone and long forgotten,
The pain is real, scorching and molten,
Douse today, every searing, burning ember,
Severed limbs tend to infest the mind forever.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Song For A Madol
by Debmalya Bandyopadhyay

The village is afloat with the Krishnochura glow
where Kamala plucks jasmine
to plait her hair with each evening.

The day spreads it’s arms above her hut,
towards the Polash forest, whose leaves
still carry Rakhal’s warm blood every spring—

(Rakhal, Rakhal) whose hands would etch a castle on the sky
for her when no one was looking. And the red
of a sari the Kolketa babu’s wife left for her

echoes the forest now. This is where quietly
death had crept up Rakhal’s body like a slow yearning,
like a story stuck in his throat, an infection

he couldn’t outgrow. So his last breath became a hasty prayer
that should have flown to Ma Shetla on time,
but got caught in the branches midway.

The centrifuge of death grabbing Kamala’s shoulders,
threw her out of running round and around
the Sal tree they would name after their child.

It is here that a jasmine drops down her hair every evening
when the flames subside in the sky, her sari
wrapping around her unborn child shivers with the trees,
as if it had witnessed death.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Vitasta Raina

Madness is euphoria,
Madness comes in waves, peaking in the golden sun,
and I am still a sage, largely unknown,
vaguely familiar, vaguely here.

Where am I, singing, loud, crashing through
time’s shadowy limits, this routine set by
light, pure ecstasy on a treadmill road under a
parachute moon, under dream-catcher
trees, I collect stars and feathers
from roadsides and sweet bougainvillea
strung in strange ocular arrays,
a ghost and
an ancient spell.

I stay. I never move.
It passes by me at the speed
of time detached
from the cold shadow
of frozen light.
Stationary, lifting and at peace.

No one comes here,
no one goes,
only forgotten species of prayers.