Supurna Dasgupta, «They say margin gives the privilege of freedom» -poetry
The night History slept with Fate, Tragedy died.
At least through its other, history had been distanced, in comedy et al.
But in this unequal match- history stood triumphant, deified.
But History knows its cunning turncoat ways,
Knows that it will die with the many,
And live commemorated in singular eternal royal days.
When I read Auden I shivered
like one among a pack of newborn cubs just out of the caves;
For until then I was looking for Icarus in the painting, and looking, and not finding him.
Auden pointed him out- those dying calves raised out of the waves.
I thought of those two legs still thrashing against fate.
Is it because that artisan’s son dared not aspire?
Did Sun burn his wings, or history with destiny did mate?
They say margin gives the privilege of freedom.
What freedom, when nearly not seen?
What margin, when it keeps closing in?
I had a blueprint in my hands-
A book of quotes that told me what to say and where to go.
But they stretched like a skein of threads of different shades
All knotted and wound about one lonely reel.
So I took to the paper-boats that recall Tempest, Helen, World War II
And the many affections therein.
Sat and chained them together in a string of paper-sails,
A veritable army
From Yeats’ launching of a thousand ships
To the elegy on my captain.
And I wrote a letter of your name on each boat,
Such that when they drown down below,
Swimming backwards and forwards they will coagulate and name you
Paddling in a puddle of mush.
Then the world will have a new blueprint:
Of boats and corals fusing fair in **** and war
In the said and unsaid
In the named and the unnamed
In time and without
Glowing through those fishbones from the riverbed.
death is mundane. it makes you pick up your phone first and become a grapevine curtly letting the circuit know. Next you switch the wifi on and send letters through the clouds across the seas. Then you sit and talk until you are too tired for words. And in the middle of the night in a dark room your phone flashes with a message from the dead. in that moment of mundane presence you apprehend a spirit. then you press buttons to call back and gather more tidbits- death, bills, body, cremation. then you gasp for water and air drowning in a bad nightmare. you sink and sink and hit the seabed and bury bits of you in the sand with the shells and forget poetry and think of stories.
it is only when you are sucked dry of words and poetry
That Death comes to you:
Making eyes burn and throb
And sleep flee.
Puts you in parenthesis.
To kill language.
photo © Stratos Fountoulis, «Paris café» -May 2012
Supurna Dasgupta, 22, is a student of English literature from Delhi University