Vignettes of a South African Township called Mdantsane

Monday, August 9, 2010



baba passed away in a strange land
stranger a scientist wept at his loneliness
ashamed he turned his head away
the final light clasp was unearthly
he passed on his dreams to a son
a contract of constellations
kolkata, benares, kanpur, gwalior
lives unlived for
i whispered in a galaxy of darkness
death could have been lot kinder
who would now tell me to come back home
who would listen on the phone in deft attention
although he hardly could hear anything
his ashes were poured in the ocean at east london
the priest told me
it’s the same
the same ocean goes to the ganges
the earthen pot containing his ashes toppled on to the sea
but always came back with the waves
the priest pondered, baba wants to come back

and i live
wearing a second skin
living in churning motion
of broken suns
living encountering
many non life forms
living a zenith of
foretold ideas
and i live for ancient
words i can never share

only baba’s outline
sink in cohesion
his voice far shadowed
than before....

Poem and Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra


  1. I feel your pain Amitabh.My father is still alive.I live in constant dread of the day I may not see him again.
    Lovely lovely verse.The old man of the ocean is probably all our peers whose expectations we have not fulfilled.We are left with symbolic rituals to do and fret about when we let a lifetime of living slip away.Sad....Usha

  2. my dear amitabh, i share your pain and love your words.

  3. Dear Amitabh, this is your most touching most heartrending poem, understandably so. We all miss your baba, "although we hardly knew him."