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Mainstream, VOL LV No 48 New Delhi November 18, 2017

Two Poems

Sunday 19 November 2017, by Sumit Chakravartty

The following are two poems composed by the author in October 1985, one year after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The first was translated by the author from the original Bengali. The second was published in Mainstream (November 16, 1985).

We shall Overcome

A year has passed.

In memory’s portico
your painting on canvas
Is still as bright as on that day.

The void of your absence
In the hearts of the toiling people

The guffaw of (he foul-mouthed and
The exhilaration of the sycophant

Are drowned in the dam-shattering torrent
of tears.

And suddenly on the soil of this land
Soaked by those tears
In rhythmic harmony with Pete Seeger’s voice

Rises the exclusive song of
unconquerable India:

‘We shall overcome,
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe:
We shall overcome!’

October 15, 1985

To Indira Gandhi

A year has passed
without you;
tears dry up

on the surface,
but the pain persists
down below
where my heart writhes
like a wounded fawn
as it dawns on me
with every passing day :
how much we lost
by losing you.

October 31, 1985

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