Culture & Society

From The Truth Of The Inanimate To The Gaps In Existence: A Poem Series That Longs For Hopes

Our primary existence is all about truths that are oozed out from the inanimate and the animated objects that surround us. At a time, when love is the last thing, we hope for, the poet searches for 'directions' when 'we courtesy and we nod at fellow pilgrims.' 

Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence 
 Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence

1.    Gaps In Our Existence

Somewhere, not in our absence,
but in the gaps of our existence—

like the beauty that flows from the soul of the morning,
her invisible, mysterious womb.

The sparkle of the stars alive in the night,
and in my eyes upon your eyes

for the dark has no language of reflections,
no way of telling us all the beauty and the hurt

that we escaped while we were away,
till everything dissolves and the light arrives.

Somewhere, when we were toiling hard
and our blood and flesh were spent in copper coins,

to break open the ground and tear apart the sky,
that is when the seeds were sown and lovingly watered

by our invisible hands that we did not know about,
leaving a trail of flowerbeds, floating into the sky.

 Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence

2.    Truth of Stones

You sit in silence and contemplate
the nature of inanimate things.

Slowly you become an empty shell.
Two spaces flow toward each other—

where they merge, you dissolve and cease.
There is a new way of being

when you become one with inanimate things.
The stone and its shadow are sentient too.

When you speak to the stone
you hear your voice in a new and fresh way

till the monologue becomes dreary 
and grows on you like an insipid sheath.

You fall quiet and two silences flow into each other,
you become one with the stone.

You watch the transient life of a stone's shadow.
How its contours and its depth of darkness change,

it moves toward the end and does not fight the light.
You close your eyes and see two lights 

immerse into each other.
You and a stone and its shadow come alive together.

Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence

3.    Directions

A trail of mud or cobblestone print manifests a path. 
There are no clues and signposts along the way—
I must.

We have no questions left to live—
so, listen (perhaps) to new lyrics.
Listen to an eye wide open in time

that reflects a stream of infinite mime.
We have miniature worlds within us like secret organs. 
A compass conjures bizarre stories 

of sheer insanity and charts us. 
A riddle inherited from elders
grows old again and weeps for love.

An instrument tries to play itself after it is too late. 
The song is dead and ancient, 
and there is no craftsman alive. 

The world is expanding around us
and we are absorbed.
At crossroads, we stop and ask for directions—

we courtesy and we nod at fellow pilgrims.
We do not look behind, and like you,
I point at emptiness ahead with a prayer.

Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence

4.    Becoming Human

Don't heap shame on me to build fertile ground
for worms to build residences of fine capillaries
slow-eating through me.

Don’t find me absurd for holding a miniature heaven
in clenched fists, between clenched teeth, 
and for asking you with last exhalation—

With hands stretching in eerie hope toward you,
if you would help me to become human, partially,
even a minuscule of what we can be.

Don't count me as bones and flesh and organs,
or as a measure of blood and fluids that flow, 
or a bag held in skin that aerates and multiplies.

Don't map me in genetic codes and state statistics,
or as a point in a fine line drawn as lineage through history.
I cannot become on my own what I want to be—

only you can help me to become Human, partially.

Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence

5.    Against Walls

Against walls—the imprints of seasons,
the diffused warmth of dawn, 
and a lament earthbound 
as it slides down the brick form.

The arrival of autumn-light late in life 
with a revealing slant 
and its fanfare in burst of colours 
from leaves fallen on the ground.

Against walls—the gusts of wind 
and pleasure of drizzle, 
the home of vine and hearth of lichen,
the coarse texture of sand and salt 

and their silent abrasions on the wall.
Holding hands and arching nape,
leaning in to find remnants of strength, 
against walls—leaving behind

fusion of memories, bricks and life,
leading to the birth of shade.

Samit Das's Artwork series: Architecture of Silence

6.    Again, it is Dusk

Again, it is dusk—
an instant of golden skin and translucence
an ascension of silence and sprawling emptiness
amplified through us.

A sudden collapse of boundaries,
expansion of the surroundings into time and space
    beyond the 'self',
    beyond the present,
    beyond history and death.

Again, it is dusk—
the hour of finding, the hour of soaking in
    without joy and grief,
    without knowing anything,
    without wanting to know anything.

An unexplained trembling
how infinitesimal and momentary we are; 
how infinite and deathless too.

Holding your own self 
and seating yourself inside your body, 
    watching this world,
    watching this tranquillity,
    watching this nothingness of self—


Crying, perhaps crying, for many lives.
Longing, perhaps longing, for many lives.
Loving, perhaps loving, for many lives.

Poet bio

Madhu Kailas is the pen name of Kingshuk Basu. He is a native of Kolkata, India and has lived in various places in India and USA. He is the author of two poetry selections, ‘The Birds Fly in Silence’, 2014 by Writer’s Workshop Kolkata and ‘The Boatman of Murshidabad’, 2021 by Aleph Book Company. He has been published in journals like Indian Literature, The Amistad, Acumen, Slippery Elm, The Gateway Review, Plainsongs Poetry Magazine, The Bosphorus Book Review, The Marathon Literary Review, Dragon Poet Review, New Mexico Review, Sutterville Review, The Punch Magazine, ‘Converse’ – an anthology of 75 years of Indian poetry in English, The Literary Voyage, and Langlit. He lives with his wife and children in Mumbai.