The New Year is marked with hope as well as fear and anxiety about what is to follow. As the world starts another new year in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, this poem by Kushal Poddar reflects upon the joys and fears of starting a new year amid a nightmarish pandemic that does not seem to end.
New Calendar Day
The perfection of one bird
lowering its flesh on a deodar
in a flash is for me,
instead of the morning coffee.
I woke up in a dark interior.
"Power cut," you whisper.
I watch the bird, a falcon,
now still on the branch,
now a blur as the wind
raises its voice in the blanks.
Echo deafens us for a jiffy.
"Future is a blur," you murmur,
but we choose clichés, coin our past,
shudder in the dearth of power,
stare at the nature as if it will
answer in signs for everything else.
To attest the thoughts the bird
signs along the dotted line of horizon.
A few Van Goghs wave one with the trees;
four Munchs stand on their forlorn bridges;
"Oh, Lucy", I say, "hope you didn't forget your pale mask."
Winter blazes. All quiet somewhere.
All quiet everywhere if I
can turn my focus to the Bokeh.
Some blurred nightmares trample
a new calendar.
I gather my blanket.
"Not a nightmare." I say,
"A museum of knowledge inside,
closed owing the pandemic."
(Kushal Poddar, the former editor of ‘Words Surfacing’, has authored eight books. His works have been translated into eleven languages.)