Five Years Ago by Manash Bhattacharjee


                        To Fady Joudah

I was waiting at the platform
For a train to Calcutta
In trepidation of leaving her
Stranded in my dreams

I remembered my mother who
Was waiting to open
The door and end her waiting
But I was distraught
By this parting of warm hands
I could feel the earth
Splitting into two and blood in
Momentary disarray

It was then the message arrived
On my phone from
A friend who knew the people I
Loved with a crisp
Line saying Darwish is no more

Now I realised what was wrong
With this day of partings
How can such a poet be no more
In this less and less world
I felt the last sky crashing on my
Head and the guitar lying
Dead on a table full of jasmines

Time fell silent on my ears
As I saw people board the train
Oblivious to the death of
The man who alone understood
The Kamasutra’s message
Was to endlessly wait for arrival

I pressed her hand to say
Passing landscapes will be difficult
I will carry the burden of
The poet’s death on my back from
One city to another with
Faithful steps of one who cherished
The name of Palestine
Staying up sleepless nights reading
Darwish’s sleepless poems

I stood alone between
Mother’s waiting and the hand that
Silently breathed in mine
I thought of Ritsos’s horse lonelier
Than a star and I heard
Darwish’s echo from the depths of
Night asking Ritsos why
The horse was left alone

Manash Bhattacharjee

Delhi, 9/08/2013.

Manash’s poetry collection, including this poem, will be published by The London Magazine later on in the year.