Poems: by Sreya Mallika Datta & Shouvik Banerjee


Sreya Mallika Datta

Look. There they are. In time-trapped frames of


There, just beyond the pillar, Saturn

Devours his peach-fleshed son.

His frenzied eyes dissolve into


plucking out life, for a moment more of existence.

And there, sportive cherubs trifle around the Poet;

The crown of Inspiration is a laurel-second away from his head.

Only if you look, you might chance upon

Colossus and catch yourself in a stifled gasp

That dies in your throat, unborn.

The night merges into his waist as

he rises above the whispering hills

where men are strewn like rage-torn strips of

Childhood paintings.

A sunny grace-day.

A dog curled up on its paws is

about to yawn at Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.

Have you ever felt the twilight-waters

of a river once kissed by the sun?

Down the hallway,

An artist paints the infant Margarita.

Margarita, who is forever caught on the


Bud of womanhood.

He will paint till the edge of time,

For he himself is painted,

Always a brush-stroke short of the final touch.

When you cannot walk any more,

You may just come across Sisyphus.

The jagged weight of his rock

reminds us of the times when we have lost our


Only to remember they were never ours to lose.

Yet, we must go on.

Must we?

And just for a razor-edge moment, we

wait for time to stop.

A spider’s web moment.

Tick, tick, tick…

History breaks out of its frame and

Spills into the world where you are.

All time is here, now, All at once.

Fade. And look upon yourself—

Lost, amidst the mist-maze of Time;

Trapped in a little burst-bubble of


[Note: The paintings referred to in this poem, in order of allusion are: Saturn devouring his son– Rubens, Peter Paul; Parnassus-Poussin, Nicholas; TheColossus– Follower of Goya; The Foot Washing-Tintoretto,Jacopo Robusti; Las Meninas, or The Family of Felipe IV-Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y, where Velázquez portrays himself, painting the painting itself, on the left of the canvas; and Sisyphus– Titian.]

Schoolgirls at a Crossing

Sreya Mallika Datta

Schoolgirls at a crossing.

Light turns green.

The errant one, looking up at pigeons

Sitting on dusty tram cables.

Complacent, placid,

Patiently suffering the mid-noon sun.

Cars zip, zap, zoom ahead.

All her friends have crossed the road.

They laugh in sharp, pebbled voices,

Silly girl, looking at the birds!

Stranded by the green leafy light

Which lets the cars pass

While she is bunged , reproachful

On a slip in a busy day,

Abandoned in her pigeon-moment of


Sreya Mallika Datta is a post graduate student of English literature at Delhi University.

Childhood Wish

Shouvik Banerjee

Sometimes these, sometimes those
they move and dance
to some unknown note
like a chorus in an ancient ode.

Wet petals hide behind them
as do the destitute ants
they are shelters of peace
when heaven weeps rampant.

A treat to the eyes,
a dancer to the thunder
let the leaves grow
grow green in number

Shouvik Banerjee is a student at Jadavpur University. He is pursuing M.A. in English and is in the first year of the course. He lives in Chandernagore, Hooghly.