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Malsawmi Jacob

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Malsawmi Jacob


A gem of rarest beauty
calls in waking dreams
morning sunset moonlight
blackstill night.
So I must set out in quest
leaving all I own.
The way may lead me through
some sacred grove
encircled by forest-walls
silent as the dead,
cavern deep and dark
washed by water’s constant lashing
churning eddies never ceasing,
maybe mountain top
ever frozen ever white
where blue spirits sit dreaming
unmindful of ages rolling,
to sky above clouds
unreached by lightning flashes
dwellings of celestial beings.
Wherever it may be found –
in sea-bed earth’s bowel
beyond twinkling stars – 
the treasure must be pursued.

Set your eyes on the mountains
three-peaked, snow-capped
and walk on.
No mushrooms to be found
the season is over, you see
the rhododendrons faded
many months ago.
Walk through the woods any way
among sullen alpine trees
listen to the cold wind’s howl
under dark clouds.
The surface may be frozen
break the ice, shards of glass
dive into the lake
go deeper, deeper
till you see, perhaps
an old man weaving a basket
or a woman in white
knitting golden yarn
it may even be
a chubby little boy
bouncing a blue ball.
Don’t be afraid.
Whoever you meet
whatever they give you
bring backand shape it
the mountains in your mind.

“Why have you gone political?”
they ask, “Why don’t you just do
your thing?”
Sure I’d love to sing of roses
blooming in the garden
and on my baby’s cheeks.
It would be fun to tell
tales of sun and moon
invent fanciful stories
how they once were friends
then quarrelled one day
and parted ways.
The ink I write with
should be blue as sky
flowing out freely
on paper white.
But our land is smeared with dark deeds
crimes so beastly no beast would commit,
so my ink becomes tar
a sluggish stinking sewage
oozing slimy lies you tell
generation to generation,
lies that justify
treading down
part of humanity
spilling blood.
So my pen flows with blood;
today it is someone’s
tomorrow it may be yours,
then you will find
the colours all same.
Bloom away, roses
in your ruby beauty
though blood and tar meet
in the street.

Once she was alive and breathing
she even had a soul
a beating heart, hands that could feel
lips that smiled, eyes that shed tears.
She went to the market one fine day
saw pretty dolls in a glass case
she stood in admiring gaze
at their red lips and pink cheeks.
The shop keeper said to her
“You’re far prettier than these
see for yourself and you’ll believe”
and gave her a looking glass.
She liked what she saw and looked and looked
the mirror now contained her world
so her soul died, her eyes froze
she became a plastic doll.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
tell me honest, tell me true;
am I fair or am I foul?
Tell me mirror tell me, do.
“Fair or foul, foul or fair—
it’s thinking that makes it so;
think yourself as fairest fair
when you look that’s what you’ll see.”
In that case my mirror dear,
need I look to you at all?
“Sure you do because I’m here
to confirm all your mind says
make you see what you want to see
help you feel you are all right.
“Should you wish to run after
forbidden profit or pleasure 
that leaves a question mark
in a corner of your heart,
I can soothe that niggling doubt
blunt the pricking thorn
wipe the unease off your mind
set you free to run full speed
chasing desires fair or foul
till at last you grow to think
foul is fair and fair is foul.”
 ©Malsawmi Jacob     


Feature–Contemporary Indian English Poetry

    Editorial: GJV Prasad

    Abhay K
    Aishwarya Iyer
    Akhil Katyal
    Amlanjyoti Goswami
    Ananya S Guha
    Arup K Chatterjee
    CS Bhagya
    Debasish Lahiri
    Devdan Chaudhuri
    Dhananjay Singh
    Gertrude Lamare
    Goirick Brahmachari
    Joie Bose
    Maaz bin Bilal
    Malsawmi Jacob
    Meera Sagar
    Nabina Das
    Nitoo Das
    Priya Sarukkai-Chabria
    Rajesh Kumar
    Ranu Uniyal
    rizio yohannan raj
    Rochelle Potkar
    Saima Afreen
    Sanjeev Sethi
    Semeen Ali
    Shelly Bhoil
    Smeetha Bhoumik
    Srilata K
    Sudeep Sen
    Sukrita Paul Kumar
    Sumana Roy
    Tabish Khair
    Taseer Gujral
    Uddipana Goswami
    Usha Akella
    Uttaran Das Gupta
    Vivek Narayanan
    Linda Ashok

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