Jayanta Mahapatra

The Indian Way By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Indian Way By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Indian Way The long, dying silence of the rain over the hills opens one’s touch, a feeling for the soul’s substance, as for the opal neck spiralling the inside of a shell. We keep calm; the voices move. I buy you the morning’s lotus. we would return again and again to the movem... »

Grandfather By Jayanta Mahapatra

Grandfather By Jayanta Mahapatra

Grandfather The yellowed diary’s notes whisper in vernacular. They sound the forgotten posture, the cramped cry that forces me to hear that voice. Now I stumble back in your black-paged wake. No uneasy stir of cloud darkened the white skies of your day; the silence of dust grazed in the long a... »

The Captive Air Of Chandipur On Sea By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Captive Air Of Chandipur On Sea By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Captive Air Of Chandipur-On-Sea Day after day the drunk sea at Chandipur spits out the gauze wings of shells along the beach and rumples the thin air behind the sands. Who can tell of the songs of this sea that go on to baffle and double the space around our lives? Or of smells paralysed through... »

Freedom By Jayanta Mahapatra

Freedom By Jayanta Mahapatra

Freedom At times, as I watch, it seems as though my country’s body floats down somewhere on the river. Left alone, I grow into a half-disembodied bamboo, its lower part sunk into itself on the bank. Here, old widows and dying men cherish their freedom, bowing time after time in obstinate praye... »

Twilight By Jayanta Mahapatra

Twilight By Jayanta Mahapatra

Twilight An orange flare lights the pale panes of the hospital in a final wish of daylight. It’s not yet dark. In the chiildren’s ward under a mother’s face the dead, always so young. Water startles in the river’s throat. Its cry: a plea to share in its curse? Somewhere, this... »

Dawn At Puri By Jayanta Mahapatra

Dawn At Puri By Jayanta Mahapatra

Dawn At Puri Endless crow noises A skull in the holy sands tilts its empty country towards hunger. White-clad widowed Women past the centers of their lives are waiting to enter the Great Temple Their austere eyes stare like those caught in a net hanging by the dawn’s shining strands of faith. ... »

The Vase By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Vase By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Vase The strong south wind hits our faces again, it’s October; sunsets are fiery red and the waters of wells are clear already- there we are, under the mango tree, in the old house, amid the drift of things, the vase on the bookcase with shadows of swifts reeling round it, and we don’... »

Dhauli By Jayanta Mahapatra

Dhauli By Jayanta Mahapatra

Dhauli Afterwards when the wars of Kalinga were over, the fallow fields of Dhauli hid the blood-spilt butchered bodies. [originally ‘red-smeared voiceless bodies’] As the earth burrowed into their dead hunger with its mercilesss worms, [was ‘tortured worms’] guided the foxes ... »

Taste For Tomorrow By Jayanta Mahapatra

Taste For Tomorrow By Jayanta Mahapatra

Taste For Tomorrow At Puri, the crows. The one wide street lolls out like a giant tongue. Five faceless lepers move aside as a priest passes by. And at the streets end the crowds thronging the temple door: a huge holy flower swaying in the wind of greater reasons. Hits: 13 »

Ash By Jayanta Mahapatra

Ash By Jayanta Mahapatra

Ash The substance that stirs in my palm could well be a dead man; no need to show surprise at the dizzy acts of wind. My old father sitting uncertainly three feet away is the slow cloud against the sky: so my heart’s beating makes of me a survivor over here where the sun quietly sets. The ways... »

The Moon Moments By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Moon Moments By Jayanta Mahapatra

The Moon Moments The faint starlight rolls restlessly on the mat. Those women talking outside have clouds passing across their eyes. Always there is a moon that is taking me somewhere. Why does one room invariably lead into other room? We, opening in time our vague doors, convinced that our minds le... »

A Summer Poem By Jayanta Mahapatra

A Summer Poem By Jayanta Mahapatra

A Summer Poem Over the soughing of the sombre wind priests chant louder than ever; the mouth of India opens. Crocodiles move into deeper waters. Mornings of heated middens smoke under the sun. The good wife lies in my bed through the long afternoon; dreaming still, unexhausted by the deep roar of fu... »

Sanskrit By Jayanta Mahapatra

Sanskrit By Jayanta Mahapatra

Sanskrit Awaken them; they are knobs of sound that seem to melt and crumple up like some jellyfish of tropical seas, torn from sleep with a hand lined by prophecies. Listen hard; their male, gaunt world sprawls the page like rows of tree trunks reeking in the smoke of ages, the branches glazed and d... »

A Rain Of Rites By Jayanta Mahapatra

A Rain Of Rites By Jayanta Mahapatra

A Rain Of Rites Sometims a rain comes slowly across the sky, that turns upon its grey cloud, breaking away into light before it reaches its objective. The rain I have known and traded all this life is thrown like kelp on the beach. Like some shape of conscience I cannot look at, a malignant purpose ... »

Hunger By Jayanta Mahapatra

Hunger By Jayanta Mahapatra

Hunger It was hard to believe the flesh was heavy on my back. The fisherman said: Will you have her, carelessly, trailing his nets and his nerves, as though his words sanctified the purpose with which he faced himself. I saw his white bone thrash his eyes. I followed him across the sprawling sands, ... »

Main Temple Street By Jayanta Mahapatra

Main Temple Street By Jayanta Mahapatra

Main Temple Street Children, brown as earth, continue to laugh away at cripples and mating mongrels. Nobody ever bothers about them. The temple points to unending rhythm. On the dusty street the colour of shorn scalp there are things moving all the time and yet nothing seems to go away from sight. I... »

Her Hand By Jayanta Mahapatra

Her Hand By Jayanta Mahapatra

Her Hand The little girl’s hand is made of darkness How will I hold it? The streetlamps hang like decapitated heads Blood opens that terrible door between us The wide mouth of the country is clamped in pain while its body writhes on its bed of nails This little girl has just her raped body for... »

Summer By Jayanta Mahapatra

Summer By Jayanta Mahapatra

Summer Not yet. Under the mango tree The cold ash of a deserted fire. Who needs the future? A ten-year-old girl combs her mother’s hair, where crows of rivalries are quietly nesting. The home will never be hers. In a corner of her mind a living green mango drops softly to earth. Hits: 6 »