Sonnet Mondal is an Indian poet, editor, and author of An Afternoon in My Mind (Copper Coin 2022), Karmic Chanting (Copper Coin 2018), and Ink and Line (Dhauli Books 2018). Founder director of Chair Poetry Evenings – Kolkata’s International Poetry Festival, Mondal edits the Indian section of Lyrikline (Haus für Poesie, Berlin) and serves as managing editor of Verseville.
The cafeteria is fenced by old walls.
The people inside look less upset about their fate
but still the oddity of it being set in a lane
where no one would expect such a café
entices me to sit on one of the empty chairs
lying outdoors—without a typical pattern.
There is no table outside—so what one could do
is just stand there—awaiting a milder, calmer tomorrow
as the waiter arrives with the orders.
Today I saw a few frameless
monochrome photographs hanging on the walls.
The waiter told me those were of the owner’s grandparents,
the architects of this little dream.
The many white stripes on the photos
spoke of a lighter tomorrow.
A wind churned up by some faraway rain
went through them, and then through my hair.
The Ferry’s Night Horn
Every night around 2 a.m.
the ferry speaks of its presence.
Its grave horn—like the midnight call
of an old night guard—bold and loud.
A gaseous image of flowing waters
turn into solid imagery
inside the closed eyelids of those
imbibing the culture of idolizing nights.
The faraway howling of stray dogs
never dilutes quietude.
They remain passively defiant.
Ruffled life, forming spheres
of languor, loosen up on the edges
and memories balance, stacking up
into a house of playing cards
falling down with each horn
and re-forming with a sigh.
In such darkness—punctuated by
the horns of the ferry—
flowers with ripped-off petals
cling to their stems in faith.
I wish to survive a few nights
lying on rough undergrowth
among the enigmatic howling of jackals
and quiet popping from the bunya pines.
I have seen dead leaves move—
muffled voices beneath wavering gusts.
They drink immortality from spring.
I too want to sip it
watching how black spots
and fading echoes unite into night.
Curiosity like stones remains heavy
inside fluid memories
sunk yet breathing
like mountains under water
and then on the shores
sea stacks covered by sea birds
show us our confines
and we sacrifice our coming
to the sky-hatching of a Huma bird’s egg.
Poetry in this post: © Sonnet Mondal
Published with the permission of Sonnet Mondal