Culture & Society

Poem: Your Eyes Kept Me Awake

It is night, the crickets croon soThe shredded letters shiver with fright.

Weekend poetry

The matchbox jumped out of your palm

Like a gymnast in the mid of a ballet,

A flying coin frozen mid-air.

Destinies gambled with fates,

Who won, knows who?

The fallen leaves of spring rustle,

The rocking chair in your study sways

Like an ageing man climbing down a flight of stairs.

You came when the morning was half-asleep.

Now, as night draws near,

Your footsteps and my short breaths, I hear.

Letters you tore up one summer night,

Many autumns ago...

Crumpled and cocooned,

I sit by the fireplace this December,

Lost in memories of yore.

I don’t know what burns:

The logs of wood or my paper-thin soul?

Beauty, that’s you;

Me? An unfulfilled duty.

Jumping into our backyard pool one day,

You had whispered in my ear,

‘Do you know, your eyes are the colour of the ocean?’

The waves of the ocean tickled my toes,

The wind played with my unruly locks;

Our last dance, our last night, our last fight...

It wasn’t sudden—your disappearance.

You had merged with the blue of the midnight sky

In the distance, a car came to a screeching halt,

My heart leapt, my soul galloped.

A rain of tears I cried, I knew you’d gone,

The penny dropped,

The ballerina sprained her ankle...

It is night, the crickets croon so

The shredded letters shiver with fright.

Sitting by the extinguished fireplace,

I wonder, Had I been betrayed or pitied?

In the dark night, my blind eyes,

My quaking fingers, in an everyday tussle,

Search for the switch to turn off the lights.

I am still alive 

For your eyes have kept me awake.

(Ipshita Mitra is Editor, TERI. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Miranda House, DU and holds a PG Diploma in English Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. She did her MA in Gender and Development Studies and is currently pursuing her PhD in Gender Studies. With over 10 years’ experience in journalism and publishing, she has worked with The Times of India, Asian Age, The Quint, and Om Books International. As an author, her recent book is '50 FAQs on Global Warming', published by Terrapin, an imprint of TERI. She writes on Art and Culture, Books, Environment, and Gender for TerraGreen, The Hindu,, TheWire, Firstpost, Huffington Post, India Currents, Indian Quarterly, and others.)