Yaman and Two More Poems by Bhaswati Ghosh



It comes with autumn’s

surreptitious footfall. Each

Alaap a waft of incense

Smoke, rarely a thunderstorm.


The oxygen of light

Slowly dissolves. With It,

the room. Yaman, like its

teevra Madhyam, persists,

cementing itself in wall

corners, sustaining

the breath.


Hours deepen. The

sun’s diurnal imperiousness

becomes a laughable hoax.

Vision loses its clues. The

world is lost, an illusion

one had given in to. Bypassing

The eye’s stubborn pathways,

Yaman rows the ears and flows

Right into the heretic heart.


No one claims darkness

better than Yaman.





For Frida Kahlo


A sea rises from your iris,

its cobalt waves mapping

your skin, tunneling into your


Bones a freak accident left

Paralyzed — life’s black

humour at 18. But what use


Would you have for walking

When you had wings to take

Off to the azure horizon and


Set it ablaze with the crimson

Desires of your heart.

The earth smells in


you a confidant who knows

Its ripe secrets — the dust

and sweat of toilers. So do


the flowers that sprout from

Your hair. And the birds in

Your seeded tropical oasis.


The urn still breathes in your

Warm scent that wanders

Alongside the cats in the blue house.






The forest is the ultimate godman.


To be in a forest is an act of

irrational faith. You enter

one  with a pact to get lost. It’s your

temporary exile. Permanency is a prison

that precludes liberty. The woods

have hours but no time so take your

time to give in to the tantra of green.


On the quilted forest bed,

conspiracies between the earth

and trees will return you

your animal ancestry — webbed and sharp-clawed.

Evolutionary hypnosis in slow motion. Feel

the soil’s dark, prehistoric kiss.

Enter the belly of the forest as it

swallows your instincts.


Crouch yourself

snug in its womb so you can explode off it

and be born.


*Shinrin-yoku or Forest Therapy means the medicine of simply being in the forest. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.


Question :What do you think is a good poem? How do you differentiate a good poem from a bad one?

I don’t feel qualified enough to answer this question, being a learning poet myself. The poems that speak to me are the ones that make me see the world with a new perspective, delight in the music that words and images can evoke and have somewhat of an universal breadth, no matter its setting or theme.






Bhaswati Ghosh

Bhaswati Ghosh writes and translates fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her first book of fiction is 'Victory Colony, 1950'. Her first work of translation from Bengali into English, 'My Days with Ramkinkar Baij' won her the Charles Wallace (India) Trust Fellowship for translation. Bhaswati’s writing has appeared in several literary journals, including Scroll, The Wire, Cargo Literary, Cafe Dissensus Everyday, Pithead Chapel, Warscapes, and The Maynard. Bhaswati lives in Ontario, Canada and is an editor with The Woman Inc. She is currently working on a nonfiction book on New Delhi, India. Visit her at https://bhaswatighosh.com/


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  • Beautiful imagery and feelings in all three poems – of harmony in time and space in Yaman, Courage and power in Casa Azul, and submission to the universe in Shinrin-Yoku.

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