Amita Paul

Oceania Of Joy

#CeWoPoWriMoWE'21, Prompt - How Darkness Can Be Light
Well, Paul Gauguin can tell us
As also Margaret Mead
Claude Levi - Strauss the zealous
If only we try to read
What the Oceania of Joy is

How lives the Natural Man
How poor Capital as a ploy is
How miserable it’s plan 
It’s not that Man doesn’t know
How to make the darkness, light

It’s just that money has taught him 
How to kill , and maim , and fight
The first Rule in Non Violence
The second one is Compassion
The third is to value Silence

And to listen in humble fashion 
But the overarching value
Is that of counting worth 
By what a man means to you
And not his money or birth 

The Ring Of Remembrance

CeWoPoWriMoWE, Week 2, Day 7 - Oceans.

Prompt - The Ring of Remembrance

(Inspired by the poem 'Acqua Alta' by Meena Alexander)
Themselves tortured by Man’s violence
Routine callous pollution and nuclear tests

The Oceans try to form a blue ring of remembrance
Around the Green Earth’s ragged brown breasts

O Man ! O Worst of Nature’s Offspring, 
Worse than all beasts, slavering with greed !
You give to the Earth only cursed offering
And ravage from her much more than you need

One day the Primordial Ring of Remembrance 
Will undo you and your unsightly works
You forget that you are here on sufferance 
None survives here who duty shirks

You not only shirk but you boast and smirk
Your ill-gotten gold will be your undoing
You’ve proved yourself a rogue and a jerk
Be assured your race will soon be going


#CeWoPoWriMoWe'21, Week 2 - Oceans/Forests - Real/Imagined/Dreamt/Experienced. Prompt - Frazil. Inspired by Menka Shivdasani's poetry collection "Frazil'.
O Woe to the wicked Wealth Gnome
That says you’re lithe and agile
When you leave your roots, your home 
When in fact you’re most fragile
Like Frazil beneath the dark waves
Of turbulent waters growing
That takes men to their graves
It’s lethal seeds is sowing

Old Ice from the Polar Caps
Is melting at breakneck speed
Big Money lays its traps
Mankind is enmeshed in greed

When all that we need is Love
Contentment and Compassion
Politics is hand in glove
With Greed to create distraction

Old Life on the Land Pastoral 
Generation after generation
Though mortal the frame corporal
Gave the race a stable connotation

Man was made for small communities
Large families with room for all
Man was not made for big cities 
Or for spending his life in a Mall
How many city people can handle
Frazil, or slush or nilas ?
Our divorce from Nature’s a scandal
We don’t touch the soil , trees and grass

What we need to survive is Love
An instinct that comes from Nature
It doesn’t just descend from above
But is taught by Nature’s nurture

From the gutters of greed and grasping
Let’s escape to the Ocean of Peace
The Ways of our ancestors clasping
Who had built paths of lasting ease

Let’s return to our rivers and mountains
Let’s return to our old family homes
For these are Love’s true fountains
Not cities’ smoky domes

Let’s return to the Farm and the Forest 
Experience Waldeinsamkeit
Let’s gasp from a ship’s Crow’s Nest
At the Starlit Ocean at night
Let’s reclaim from Demons of Lucre
Pristine Earth that’s our birthright
Let’s wake up from Falsehood’s stupor
And walk into Truth’s bright Light

Spring In Betla

#CeWoPoWriMoWe'21, Week 2 - Forests - Real/Imagined/Dreamt/Experienced. Prompt - Restless Leaves
One fine morning , it breaks out
Throughout the Forest
The Fire of Spring

The Flame of the Forest
Tongues licking the Sky
A Living Thing
With wild abandon

Trees, young and old,
Are blossoming 
This way and that 
Restless New Leaves 
They fling

The Flirtatious Breeze
Rustles through them all
Dancing , laughing

Storm Rising

#CeWoPoWriMoWe'21, Week3 - Rivers - Real/Imagined/Dreamt/Experienced. Prompt - Storm Rising
(This is inspired by Lata Mangeshkar's song :
Vadal Vara Sutala Ga | वदल वारा सुटला गा |)
Far down the grey reaches of the foaming river
The dark rain-laden clouds are rolling in
The deep green leaves of the forests shiver
Amazing speed yet seems the storm’s strolling in

Upon the back of frothy waves, grey clouds
Cirrus to cumulus morph and are scrolling in

Ominous as ghost sightings of ash shrouds
Menacing in the texture of growl sounds

The rumbling thunder rolls in woolly mist sounds 
Sudden as lightning then the monsoon pounds 
The storm breaks like a pack of hunting hounds


#CeWoPoWriMoWE'21, Week 2 - Forests, Prompt - Magic
Forests of Magic
In pages of books
Tall talking trees
Bright babbling brooks
Pale purple mountains
Leafy gold glades
Cascades and fountains
Indigo shades

There dwell the Witches
Wizards and Elves
There sit Old Gnomes
Talking to themselves
There live some Monsters
Ogres and Djinns
There swim Gold Fish
With bright silver fins

There you’ll find Alice 
And Red Riding Hood
And Gingerbread Houses
For children who’re good

There lives Snow White
And there dwells Rose Red
And now I am nodding
It’s time for bed 

O’ Flow Again, Mighty Ganga

#CeWoPoWriMoWE'21, Week 3- Rivers, Prompt - Why Do You Flow, O Ganga !
(Inspired by Bhupen Hazarika's song 'O Ganga, Tumi Boichho Kaeno?)
A Civilizational Era
Is but a wave 
In the Ocean of Infinity

Yet to us mortals
Products of the Indo- Gangetic Civilization
Ancient among the World’s River Valley Civilizations

The Mighty Indus
The Sacred Ganges
Are Mothers, Primordial Goddesses

And as over Civilization
Over-ripened , teeming , decaying
Unravels , who can we turn to ?

We turn to our Mother Rivers
And to them address our complaints
As if we ourselves had not choked them
Polluted them , strangled them , sullied them
Killed them by overuse , destroyed their sources
Bedammed and bedamned their ancient paths to the Ocean

Guilty of Matricide
Guilty as Sin
We yet seek to displace our guilt on those we murder
Half a century ago the Bard of Assam , land of the mighty Brahmaputra
Son of the Creator Brahma cried
“ Why do you flow, O Ganga ? “

A Cri de Coeur , asking why the Mother River
Did not halt its flow on hearing the cries of oppressed masses 
From both its banks, protesting evils oppression and injustice
Hunger and poverty and unscrupulous wielding of power
Incensed the Poet and his cry was to halt the Mother River in her tracks 
Today, she has halted almost completely
Today, if Bhupen Hazarika were standing with me in Patna
In a hot dusty luu- tortured April , 
He would lament in the words of an older bard, twisted
“ Where the clear stream of reason has lost its way
In the dreary desert sands of dead habit “ 

Yes, today, mind is not without fear nor the head held high
Today neither Ganga nor knowledge is free
Today not only has the world been broken into narrow domestic walls
They have encroached upon and desecrated most of the river bed too
Where tireless striving stretches its greedy claws towards more and more profit
Into that Hell of Unfreedom have we drifted 
Drugged , opiated , hypnotised by Unreason
The bedraggled reedbeds, the ravaged mango groves 
The dirt - choked riverbed, the narrow side streams reduced to gutters
The tear - inducing ruins of what was once the Mighty Ganga

Looking towards them from the rooftops of the ironically named Gangatowers
And Rajnigandha Apartments 
And the rotten corruption that now prevails in the old Gandhian Sadaquat Ashram
The Darkness of Ignorance and bigotry in Rajendra Smriti and Gandhi’s Bihar Vidyapeeth 
The Bard would not have roared like a spoilt child , “ Why do you flow, Ganga ? “
He would have wept like an orphaned child and entreated 
“ Come back , and flow full and free again , O Mother Ganga !

Forgive us , your errant children , and save our dying Civilization 
Stop those who riddle your breast with dynamite , Mighty Father Himalaya ! “
For we are guilty of truly Himalayan Blunders 
And our Civilization has been facing an existential crisis for decades now
And is now in its death throes . Yet we are blind , deaf and mute

Amita Paul is by profession a retired bureaucrat but at heart a poet and a teacher. She writes , mostly poetry, in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. Her recent poems are featured or are forthcoming in anthologies and journals and have found a place of honour in many an online poetry writing forum this summer. She was awarded the NISSIM International Poetry Award (First Prize) for 2019, for Excellence in Writing and her contribution to Indian English Poetry especially through a new genre called Tapestry Poems, by the jury of The Significant League , a Creative Writing group on Facebook. On 22 January 2020 , the TSL Jury announced the award of the First Reuel Prize for 2020 for Non – Fiction to her for her Experimental Prose plus Multi – Media Anthology , ‘ The Saaqi Chronicles’. Destiny Poets, Wakefield, UK declared her Poet of the Year ’20, and also Critic of the Year ’20. Her poem View From A Porthole, was acclaimed at the National Poetry Writing Month site. A selection of her poems feature in an anthology Impressions & Expressions edited by Amita Sanghvi, July ’21..