Voices

Lockdown Poetry Contest Winners: Arpita Choudhury, Arya Gopi and Anushree Bose

These poems made it to the top of eShe’s Lockdown Poetry Contest 2020.

These poems are part of our Lockdown Poetry series where we feature the winners of eShe’s Lockdown Poetry Contest 2020 for women writers held this July. There was one winner, 10 runners up, and two special mentions.

Here, we bring to you the works of Arpita Choudhury, Arya Gopi and Anushree Bose.

This Lockdown

© Arpita Choudhury

(i)
It’s been autumnal,
exhausting, breaking off tangles from a
previous time, dead like the hair balls
in my fingers, this ceaseless hair loss
like drifting memories, making their way
to their careless, misty rest.

(ii)
It’s been of a river’s journey.
Growing wide and deep. Time is abundant,
nourishing, quickly lost like the frivolity
of a brimming rivulet to mid-life,
learning the joys of silence,
flowing, pausing, comforting herself
about the imminent end.

(iii)
It’s been about drama.
Of sage wisdom, of characters
leaping out of books, casting
themselves in daily lives.
Repeating a million times, the same
old stories tiring the Earth’s ears.

(iv)
And through it all, it’s been
about lasting. Somewhere
as a fine memory,
somewhere as fearsome love,
staunch and hideous.
Somewhere burying desires
a reclaimed or redefined self.

Arpita Choudhury, 45, is a lawyer on a sabbatical to raise the kids at home. She believes there are too few words to capture all the beauty in the world.

Navarasa Fugue**

© Arya Gopi

1)
SRINGARA
He mouthed, “Tea”,
surreal sleep juxtaposed
with propane and mundane.

2)
HAASYA
Trivial forks cut sun.
Pungent course-meals,
Set on suicidal table.

3)
KARUNA
Paradoxical beans
drew monochrome dishes.
I eat leftover chimerical words.

4)
RAUDRA
Kitchen contours, traceless
like bird left track in the sky,
if sketched, be a scullery graffiti.

5)
VEERYAM
I lick burnt sugar,
cause and effect stigmatise.
I undo my bra strap.

6)
BHAYANAKAM
I watch the play between
necessity vs causality,
politely husbanding my wallet.

7)
BHEEBHATSA
I run freely in my cage,
Bake and garnish freedom
serves the sumptuous liberty.

8)
ADBHUTHA
My ladle has many ends.
Brewing salty tears, often,
embroidered apron wipes out
all marvelous perspirations.

9)
SHANTHAM
Lockdown halved
the vintage housewife.
Unfinished glass of fermented life
is opaque, blind and lightless.

** Navarasam symbolises the varied human emotions – anger, agony, love, sorrow, hatred, et cetera

Dr Arya Gopi (PhD), 33, is a bi-lingual poet with half a dozen published books in English and Malayalam. She teaches English literature at Calicut University.

Almost Fine

© Anushree Bose

I stay indoors
counting breaths and calories.
Prānāyāma is good
for lungs, I have been told and
to binge eat is to sin.

In frenzy, I roam the corridors
feeling haunted.
My Pedometer count: ten thousand.
The floor is cold beneath
my feet. In my shoe cabinet, spiders
gallivant and breed.

Bright screen lights up with your
beautiful smile.
We oscillate between being
goofy and vulnerable. It is good to vent.
When I wave, you cry.
We cannot touch. Life sucks.

Tepid stews of tailed and topped beans,
shelled peas and some
more greens. I eat healthy and look pallid.
I step out, masked like the robbers,
for gas and groceries. Confined indoors,
sleepless, I resemble convicts.

Fidgety fingers, smeared in glue
and glitter, create stuffs
infantile. Piles of books and dirty tea cups
take up the other half of my bed.
A human can be an island.
I tell the houseplants, they understand.

Dr Anushree Bose (PhD), 33, is a clinical researcher (psychiatry) at NIMHANS Bengaluru. Her poems and articles have been featured in various publications.

First published in eShe’s September 2020 issue. Stay tuned for more prizewinning Lockdown Poetry coming up on eShe.

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