Poems by
Suvayan Dey

White Night

a poem by Suvayan Dey

On this roof of the old city
Full moon night
I remember years ago
A night in the woods
When under the moon
The forest was calling the forest
And reindeer
The reindeer left behind
In the high bushes on a deserted bend

Are they all still
Paths and Weeds of Yellow Clay
Thick mahogany trees
Strong smelling grass
Late twilight dew
The caretaker’s hut and
Seven stars above it

On this urban night of full moon
Why are you remembering
Jungle Night?
Look down from the ceiling
Midnight is falling
Far and wide moon light
Most drag sidewalks
Pavements open after midnight
As the courtyard covered me since childhood
And the open roofs kept calling as the night went on
Live anywhere
What is in the light of the moon
In this shattered midnight
A helplessness
That crushes me and a hope
That hurts
Settled in the city like this
That the breakdown of the family is its foundation like
Neither the ancestors came nor the village nor the forest nor the animals
What does it mean to live in a city
End up in the city?

View of a huge refugee camp
Their future tents everywhere
How are we involved in the journey
That our face is still like the displaced
Just to say that someone has his own city
No one owns home
Even within this we keep wandering

There is very little left in Lucknow
Very few in Allahabad
Kanpur and Banaras and Patna and Aligarh
Now in these cities
Many types of violence, many types of markets
Variety of deals
Around them inside

Far from them Bombay, Hyderabad, Amritsar
And up to Srinagar
And preparation for violence
And violence
Can’t argue
Murders happen
The debate that goes on
That too ends in murders
Born in India

I also wanted to make sense
It is no longer India
Born in
What is in the light of this full moon
In this shattered midnight
That my breath
Lahore and Karachi and Sindh?

Is Lahore surviving?
In which country is he now?
Neither in India nor in Pakistan
Neither in Urdu nor in Punjabi
Ask the nation builders
Was Lahore settled again?
Like it’s untouched
Tonight’s white night
Is a fact
Lahore is also my truth
Where is he

Green sky city Baghdad
Find him
Where is he in Arabia now?
Ask war chiefs
In this white night
Can they rebuild Baghdad?
They can’t even grow a palm tree
They can’t even walk in the sand
How much a baby camel walks
From dust and dust
Playing like space
Can they make a camel?

A dome, a watermelon, a high jug
A fountain
Who gradually became glasses
A street
Who roamed the city under the shadow of high walls
And in the street
A girl with a turquoise handkerchief on her head
Who will never be seen in that street again
Will you miss him now
So she will miss
Now your memory is his Baghdad
Your memory is his street, his age is
She has a turquoise handkerchief

When Bhagat Singh moved towards the gallows
It was non-violence
Their most difficult
If they accepted war
Warlords justice
So they too would survive
Would tolerate
Slowly dying everyday
Like Lahore
Banaras Amritsar Lucknow Allahabad
Like Kanpur and Srinagar