Unnamed relations

I know a river
One that I found and sailed
Met people on the banks
Held hands, shared a hug
– With a dagger in the cloak
Always hidden.

The boy who taught me love
Saw a couple kiss
That evening,
Beneath the old devil tree*
His hand on her waist
She looking up to him,
“They don’t close eyes when they do it, huh?”
“Don’t make any rules”, he winked.

Wordsworth’s reaper
Oh! I’ve seen him more than once
In tethered clothes
– he wrote happiness on the sky
Wish I could, too.

The young mother
Had a child in the buggy,
Another in the sling
And the last in a piece of cotton
From her neck
“They’re yours?”
“Very treacherous, that river – you know?
Almost had me drowned”
“And then?”
“If you are born to be hanged, you cannot drown”,
Her eyes smiled.

Conceit, humility, love, hate
Pages turn
From an eerie knock on the door
To tales of Taslima’s** girlhood;
Today we aren’t
Fathers, mothers or children
At the crossroads
Words speak for us.


  • Alstonia scholaris – Blackboard tree, Indian devil tree, Ditabark, Milkwood pine, White cheesewood and Pulai (Bengali:ছাতিম)
    ** Taslima Nasrin


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21 thoughts on “Unnamed relations

  1. thanks for the introduction to taslima….and what intriguing verse…
    first, its better with eyes wide open…just saying…
    it is a treacherous river we face…
    and wonderful close…the identity put aside…as words are enough…

  2. Wonderful metaphors used Abhra 🙂 Liked the way you stretched the connection from Solitary reaper to Taslima…beautifully penned…and let words speak for us …Amen..:-)

    Awnekdin baade tomar lekha poRlaam..darun laaglo.. 🙂

  3. I like the ending… the verse was like a round staircase.. it reminded me of climbing up a lighthouse(I have done that only once).. you climb and climb along the edges and in the end, you see the portal which makes you reach out.
    Nicely penned.

  4. i love the way you spin this down to that fabulous ending, love all the soul we meet along the way. a lovely tribute to the words that do, indeed, speak for us all.

  5. Nice walk along the river of allusions and poets.
    Just one word of caution: in Britain, bogeys are the crusts you have inside your nose. The vehicle for transporting children is buggy or pushchair.

  6. A truly lovely journey along a river of art and artists, Abhra. But the thought of holding hands and sharing a hug, all the while concealing a dagger under the cloak — just in case –resonated with me. Gave me a chuckle and a chill. 😉 Thank you for your thoughtful poem and efforts in support of this world of poets. ~ j

  7. Ganges lullaby, minus the crocs & corpses; alacrity tingling, reaching out for the hug, dagger at the ready if it is a blow instead. Intriguing metaphors; like the line
    “If you are born to hang, you cannot drown/. Have to give that one some more consideration.

  8. I too like the idea of not making any rules, especially when it comes to writing. I had forgotten about Taslima Nasrin. Thanks for reminding us about this brave woman.

  9. an interesting piece. there are a lot of things that are better with eyes wide open. and the use of words too holds much power.

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