Four Poems by Jaydeep Sarangi


Living is Leaving


Groups of watchmen-

protecting  us at night,

armed with sticks, choppers and knives.

Fear  robbed us of hunger and sleep.

On some nights, when we could not sleep,

My father  would light the lamp to read and write,

cleaning the courtyard endlessly.

The people at our homeland were getting restless –

asking when we would all move to another land.


My  father could give them no date,

the permits had not arrived.

In endless discussions in the evenings

we all agreed that we could lose our lives

if we did not leave immediately.

During one such deliberation,

he  mused awhile, then declared,

“If we try to cross the border on our own,

we will be swept away in the melee.

We must cross the border with our friends and relatives.

Even if we have to perish then,

we shall all perish together.

I shall start for the capital  tomorrow

and get the permits issued by the head office;

else death is a certainty!”

He sank back into deep thought.


Autumnal leaves fall fast.



Prayers at Kalighat


Over my piercing eyes  a desire

is called for, again and again


Talking to you is my desire

dancing near  the old canal at Kalighat


Where I celebrate my daughter’s feats

taking a special  biryani for home


As the summer rain sails over me

my desire makes me of its own


The silent waters of the Ganges

carrying the light of my eyes


Delayed is my mind’s  moon

someone calls me to deep dark


Darkness has a voice, mysterious whispers

You call, my desire has an evening, our moods match


Prayers in temples my mother offer

Priests chant for all good things



Long day signs off waiting for your

mood to return and celebrate the best in the world

Unbound from cultural images

her free spirit with a trident and a sword


Bright blue, standing on Shiva she

Keeps time, the dark mother



As she  moves  toward the deep water

my life meets with the  heart taken on loan, undefined.


Note: Goddess Kali is the central image here.





Stories  of  the Night


Dreams are random tonight

Erratic rain is kissing my pillow

Wishes galore, crackers burst

Flashbacks, memories

Are suddenly out of their boxes.


Even the happy ones

Are dressed in pale, black

I ask them again and again

“Why are you back on this lonely night?”

All friends are in their deep sleep

No one can reply, a company

Is giving her duties to others,

Of a sore heart dying for times

Lived tighter, wrote in conversation.


Time is a relentless wheel.

It crushes all the work we do together.

The present cannot hold

Tomorrow may be a new day

A full rite of yesterdays.


I plant saplings for future

My parents are leaning towards a river, swallowing

All come by the day’s end

Small things have the Himalayan responsibilities.

I have no dream that is not her

I have no hearth that is not visited.


All games have results, trophies

The game heart is open

Joint pains, all mid night mutterings

Are self reflections

Afraid to revisit. The heart may be hurt.


Time moves erratic

Sweet people turn lifeless

Machines speak in abundance

Unuttered words are all four letter words now.

This time, the clock is stopped

Emotions fossilized in bloodlessness.


Our house are homes

Doors are shut. Walls

Talk to other walls. All

Whisper, there’s time to grow up

With the heart and the hearth.


A fellow caregiver lends her heart for a loan,

“Learn, poet, learn.”

There’s no end of learning, growing up

With time and friendship. “Stop there.”



Raining Somewhere


Daily mood swings keep arriving, defying

The summer heat, the sessions

Of past thoughts in the waiting room of poems


In the mind, defying old relations

Summer evenings to look back

In our journey toward


A mood’s timely renewal

Through a bohemian touch, demanding

For poems after misadventures with bodies.


Before this afternoon, there are routine messages

Of her arrival, in words and images

There is someone always smiles


Without a four letter word in her mouth

Stories of butterflies in the head

She is enclosed stitching homes in a distant land


Jaydeep Sarangi is a widely anthologized poet with  ten collections, latest being, letters in lower case (2022). A  regular reviewer for poetry journals and newspapers, Sarangi  has delivered keynote addresses and read poems in different continents and lectured on poetry and marginal  studies  in universities/colleges  of repute. His books, articles and poems are archived in all major libraries and online restores in the world, including Harvard University, Oxford University, Sorbonne University, Barkley Library and University of Chicago.  He is the   President, Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics (GIEWEC) and Vice  President, EC, Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library,Kolkata. He has been known as ‘the bard of Dulung’ for his poems on the rivulet Dulung and people who reside on its banks. Sarangi is Principal and professor of English at New Alipore College, Kolkata and actively spreading the wings of poetry among generations. He edits Teesta, a journal devoted poetry and poetry criticism. With Rob Harle he has edited six anthologies of poems from Australia and India which are a great literary  link between the nations. . With Amelia Walker, he has guest edited a special issue for TEXT, Australia. His website is :


Jaydeep Sarangi

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