Wednesday 25 October 2023

Poetry 2023 Longlist, Srabani Bhattacharya

 How To Tell Seasons

Mother, my book is all wrong.

It says there are only five seasons! 

How can that be? What about

The season when the storms

knock on the windows? What about

the season when the doves

bicker louder than the bulbuls?

And the one when the crows disappear?

There’s that season when 

the mango buds come on the tree;

The one when they turn yellow;

And when they grow fat and fall down

Of course there’s the season when 

I pick up a basket of shiuli in the morning;

Then the one when Grandma has 

no flower from the garden for puja.

They completely missed that season 

when baba brings home the syrupy jaggery 

which you and grandma turn 

into pithe and puli and payesh.

That’s when the one when little

shops plop up in corners selling

sweets and chikis and lumps of dogs 

are curled up in corners instead of

lying flat with their tongues out.

What about lichi season and jackfruit season 

And the one when baba’s bazaar must

have a bag of guavas? They didn’t 

even count the one when cuckoos

call non-stop and I can never find

where they are hiding. They’ve

only written about when the stairs 

turn into a pond and baba puts 

bricks for us to step on. This book 

is a bore. It can’t tell seasons at all. 

Why, they missed about twenty more!

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