By Arundhati Rakshit

 

The Flames

And the anguished flames rise once more

In revolt,

In chorus,

In rebellious crackles.

 

For who dares so much as to

Set on a journey,

A journey betrothed to

Forgetful wayfarers,

A journey never-ending,

And yet that seeks to 

Transcend into the Realms of a surreal cadenza?

 

I know not who I am.

Nor whence I came

Nor where I am destined to go.

And yet,

My oath binds me true,

To the destiny of a Solitary Traveller.

 

My path strewn with forget-me-nots

Oblivious to themselves,

That bind my vision –

Benign, mellifluous;

The darkness beyond dazed by 

A Thousand Dazzling Suns!

 

No.

I know not.

I care not to know.

Who I am

Whence I cam

Or wherever I am destined.

 

And yet, before me,

A thousand tireless flames

Rise in agony.

The reverberating shrieks, the defiant sobs,

The heartrending screams,

Cry in unison

With these Roaring crackles of The Inferno.

 

And the souls grope,

In quest of liberty,

In quest of Identity….

The Quest.

Indefatigable.

Irrepressible.

And Immortal.

 

The Solitary Traveller

The lone star creeps silently 

Over the brooding banyan.

Mute witness to the countless stories woven by this city

In surreal trance.

 

The forlorn paths stand still

Gazing at the receding footprints

Of the wayfarer,

Destined never to return.

 

The fallen leaves sing with the flute

Of the Solitary Traveller,

Breaking off in a mournful cadenza,

Time and again…

 

The traveller who had once

Roamed in the streets of this city,

The traveller –

Lonely, serene, speechless,

Playing a flute all along.

The undaunted voyager,

Set in his quest of a dream,

Destined never to return.

 

Yet, this city awaits his return,

All through the cold dark nights,

In soulful silence…………..

 

Ode to the City

Far amid the widowed streets, 

Through the rancid smell of brazen glass,

Broken souls and living ash,

Thrives life,

Desperate, frozen yet undying…………..

 

The city skies are never clear,

The city streets never silent,

Always crowded and lonely,

Voices soaring over black and blue,

Supercilious brown soot hovering above.

 

Sh..sh… ne’er make a sound

Or you may miss the silent whispers,

Treading lightly with dazed hues.

Crackling of fire, swirling of dust,

Cacophony of

Laughter and ‘deshi’ beer,

For the city skies are never clear.

 

One by one, the strings lose hope,

Tear apart,

Leaving her to cope…

One by one, the rhythms drop off,

The words cut off yet the song burns,

Her eyes darken,

Her soul winces,

She’s all trapped in a dark mess.

And the flames rise,

The roses speak,

The stories go on, her stories flow on,

Even if she never wakes…

 

For the city has lost its soul,

And sing she must to bring it back

And sing she must,

Even if, 

That costs a world…

For the city streets are never empty,

Crowded and lonely, 

Forever.

 

And a loner she must be,

To raise her city from the dead,

For she has erred to love these lanes,

This city and its fateful banes,

And pay she must,

For she has loved this city

Like no one ever did before…

 

Arundhati Rakshit, aged 21, a resident of Kolkata, India, Bengali by birth, is presently pursuing B.Sc. in Mathematics from Jadavpur University. She has worked as a Coordinator, publishing her works in the students’ supplement, Voices, The Statesman for 4 years as a school student. She loves to write and read. Her pieces, mostly poems, fiction and memoirs, explore human life, their connection to social, economic and political changes, human character and psychology.

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