Vignettes of a South African Township called Mdantsane

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Connaught Place Blues


We had once walked around
Connaught place for hours
Trying to solve a puzzle
Of a day in its stately columns
Holding aloft the far shores
Of an unfamiliar sky
Morning of jigsaw pieces in The Book Worm or
Mind shopping at the pavement
For love poems
Rushing to embrace
Colors, lips
At a backthought corridor in
Dhoomimal Gallery
Our legs ached
Going round and round
Just trying to be somewhere
Until the one legged man in Dass Studios
Appeared from nowhere
As Susmit Bose’s voice from the gramophone
Bent down to pick us
Loving was an afternoon
In a season that finally fell in its
Rightful place.

Poem and Charcoal/Ink drawing by Amitabh Mitra

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Remembering Tapan Sinha


the stones remained hungry
as palaces and kothis overturned
a night crossed over from guarding
an extinct royalty
to streets of Kolkata
where the youth tore off
its resplendence
stabbed by a fury
of political landscape
yet the night survived
its heart throbbed
images grew from
white and black
fact and fiction
summer and winter
and crowded the birds
once despondent of
Tapan Sinha merged
with this
night today
days of untoward resolute
in its finery
crystal eyed
he continues to show
us all.

FimmakerTapan Sinha born on 2 October 1924, left us today. He was arguably the most uncompromising filmmaker outside the orbit of parallel cinema. This poem is inspired by his two movies Khudito Pashan (Hungry Stones) based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore and Aapon Jon, a film about the Naxalite Movement in Kolkata.

January 15 2009

Charcoal Drawing and Poem by Amitabh Mitra

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chennai, after the rain


it has been raining since morning
and carol king is blowing my mind since then...
Pritish Nandy

after the rains
takes on a new
chennai to me has always
been the abode of gods and goddesses
words of substance
sometime in a steep incline
and from my rugged interiors of gwalior
i thought
of sandal pasted foreheads
and eyes sure
of non entities
bejewelled ladies talking of
in uneasy words
and lifesmell
only to nonbelievers
until the rains came
a carnage of green
shook the streets
of sorts submerged
an umbrella
gave refuge
to whispers
of yet another love.

Poem and Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Saturday, December 18, 2010



we met at a thimphu sunday flea market
there was mist all over
the crowd spoke in gregarious tones
like mountains hunting for lost ones
there was mist on her face
her lips balanced an era
of happening
mist on her kira
somebody whispered
that’s dashoam
our princess
and i remember speaking to her in shameless
woven forests
even in sleep
next to the log fire
i thought i spoke of the earth
beyond  mountains
and chortens
we would leave
having touched once
sundays we met
and parted
buying always laughter
exchanged odours
when are you going to wear the boku
when would you make me a dasho
she laughed and laughed
a sky just opened up
a mist went thicker
amidst the staring gargoyles of tashikodzong
tired dragon roofs
grunting yaks
nobody saw us embracing
an unsheltered sun.

Poem and Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Daily Dispatch, South Africa’s premier news daily talks on Poems for Haiti

Once again, The Daily Dispatch, South Africa’s premier news daily talks fervently on the anthology, Poems for Haiti. With a forward by Professor Peter Horn who received the SALA Lifetime Literary Achievement Award a few days back, this book is not only the first of its kind in global literature on Haiti but also has the major representative voices of contemporary South African poetry. Six books are up for grabs via the Daily Dispatch to poets and poetry lovers.


Monday, December 13, 2010



the empty city streets that don’t dream anymore
an old midnight choir don’t sound like before
the mirror street memories of homemade wine
an elegy of old sunshine
reminds me of you.

Anjan Dutta from his song Bow Barracks Forever

that was another strange evening
the market at chandni was flooded
old landscapes
trying a takeover
old aromas remaining nascent
and an old view thought
sensed greenery
yes, it was really long back
longer than moments
turning eventually blunt
longer than lanes
i seem now to have forgotten

on such an evening
colors of sari revolted
the old lady embroidered an uneventful sky
in a din unravelled
do u remember i had suddenly
chosen to brush my lips
on your hair
my hand in your hand
we were swept deeper
belief then was never
unheard of.

Poem and Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back home


i never answered...
even when words cast
unequivocal borders
street lights
many years after
held sodium lamp halo
the overhead railway bridge
its shadows ever so busy
in such undulating nights
i had often thought of
a flicker smile persisted
resisting to
overgrown stars
it’s a sky
i remembered
i had taken home
of an eyelash
in a rigid
our small talk.

Poem and Watercolor by Amitabh Mitra