Two prose poems by Sambuddha Ghosh

November Light


The magpies of my forgetting are such that perched on the chiselled granite steps of my own mausoleum, they tell themselves stories of rivers and streets of unfrivolous peace. The wine was silent they knew, made out of a dank, perhaps inconsequential cellar of grapes left fermenting in bedroom dark. And behind, half-remembered faces of dainty mollycoddles, a third of a room with curtains, a kitchen smelling of rags soaked in municipal water and dark green distemper lintels where the dust lay thick, like truth, powdered. When the rains would fall, that other room, like an invisible rotting crust became the house, now reeking with the moist, odorous ashpits of yesterday’s oughts.

 Swooping over me like the slow descent of the undertaker’s axe onto the soft churchyard earth; these, my golden nitpickers whisper to me, Wretched Ogre, the streams of your lucid winter are in sight.


On these damp days I feel I am, a seasonal scarecrow erected to stem the rot of idle minutes. Some breezy caesura it goes, pounding, shaking the mind-bushels: hornbills at rest, lying naked on damp straw now with tingle and ice as the slither of five o’clock is past. Now, birdsong, and the last summer rain. In your eyes, a reciprocal light and surrogate voices leaning across this minor oblongata of a failing B and G chord. Self-sacrificing, as if a moribund epigraph was all one could hope for; perhaps less, a word, a breath, peeling away at oneself and frying the flakes.

 But this music, reeking of a strange tropic heat, flowing into our maggot brains and then falling to an afternoon quiet—ah, wouldn’t one have loved less, perhaps, if one knew precisely THAT—a delicate door into the dark, some sullen profundity lying about among the dull radio choir, the trailing plumes of cigarette smoke over dead mountains and plains; hollows dug deep, very deep, where one can just hear their own breath, heaving, falling, failing.


Sambuddha Ghosh is a bilingual poet writing in English & Bengali. He is an Assistant Professor in English at a Govt. College in West Bengal and a co-editor of the Bengali ‘little magazine’, Pratishedhak. His work has been heavily influenced by several eclectic traditions of Continental poetry and the work of modern Bengali poets such as Jibanananda Das, Benoy Mazumdar & Utpal Kumar Basu.

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