Culture & Society

Poems About War, Grief, Flowers And Hope 

What are we supposed to do when war breaks out? Some people come out and protest. Some become numb. And some write poems in the hope that someday flowers will bloom in the barrels of the Kalashnikov instead of bullets. These poems express that hope.


'How To Love Flowers?' and other poems

How To Love Flowers?

Spring has arrived in my parts of the land
The Krishna Chura has bloomed as usual
Only I have lost my eyes to see it
I can see the wreckages
Piled in every flower’s seed.
I have never known
The weaning winter can leave behind so much
Coldness in its coffins.

A smell of insane death is wafting everywhere.

Sometimes poetry can be a blatant lie
It doesn’t tell much about how to look at
Beauties when war breaks in.

In the corridor
I don’t see the fallen leaves
I bump up with the shells of bullets.
The Sunflower, Poppy and Tulip
Or the national flower of Sudan 
All stand overlooked.


Poetry has not taught me enough
How to love flowers when war breaks in.         

In a deserted city
You wake in me as an abandoned night
I wrap you in my cloak
and walk through the ruins.

A girl has left a half-knit woolen sweater
Which still smells of her nimble fingers
A boy has left an unfinished letter
The ink is still wet
A friend has left unfinished raki*
The brink of the glass is still warm 
With the warmth of his lips
A mother has left her heart
Beating for the sweet home
A father has left his dream.

With you sheathing in my eyes
I pick up all the remnants of lives
And put everything on a white paper
I write Hope there in capital letters.


*Raki: The Turkish National Drink.

What Does It Mean To Be A Poet In The Time Of War

When the world falls to pieces
War monkeys drop bombs
A plate of rice is sold in the
Price of gold*
The passage of death in Jallianwala Bagh
Is being draped
In glossy tiles**
A poet in love is the only hope.
Keeping the fire alive
She passes the night of cruel cold.

She sows half-lived dreams,
Rivers and mountains
She preserves the marigolds
In the bookmarks
She stuccoes the mists of every kiss
On the windowpane.

When the dawn returns
With the footprints of refugees
Returning to their homeland
She exhausts with her abandoned night
And let the world roll on.
They find the hope of warmth
Preserved in alphabets and

From the night till the dawn
A poet’s pen is the weft of rain
It weaves hope for the men
Who have been rendered refugees today,
Tomorrow, they will come back again.

*Price of Gold: A large number of common people were on the verge of losing their homeland again when the US decided to leave Afghanistan.  At Kabul airport, a plate of rice was being sold at the price of Rs 7,000. 

**Glossy Tiles: In India, the central government, in its attempt to revise history, plastered the passage of Jallianwala Bagh with glossy marbles. The passage with thousand bullet holes on the chest is itself a witness of that ghastly massacre.


Unanswered Call

Every midnight call
adds up one more slice of

the day-long war wants to end
with a desperate dial
but only ends
with a new day’s war
the tired heart traipses
on the lonely lane
which has turned deserted now
the soul becomes more heavier
the sighs are often visited guests
the chasm between the words
is the place where
the bereaved heart wants to lean on
and the unsaid words deepen wound
I gulp down my own tears

my midnight calls are always

Two Colours Of Death

(White Bomb, Black Death)

When a bomb falls on white countries
The screens of my TV, computer and
Laptop bleed and I, a Black woman
Shed black tears and wipe my teary face
With white coloured newspapers.
White refugees are mothers, sisters, fathers.


When bombs are dropped on Yemen and kill million
And in Gaza Strip a maimed father kisses
an amputated son,
an Afghan woman sells her child to hunger,
Darwish becomes a refugee poet
the white newspapers in black countries
celebrate the democracy of big giant America.

The refugees of Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan
Are Aylan Kurdi or  Abdel Waheb Yousif*
Or all the voiceless voices who remain invisible
forever in darkness.

They are not anyone’s father, mother, sister
They are just dark, brown nameless people.                        

How Does Grief Look Like

How does grief look like
Circle, square, triangle or rectangular?


Grief looks like
Circle that ends and begins again
from the rectangular photo frame
only to debouch as a river
from the dark eyes.
Grief might be faces
all different still
strings attached
in the same nightmares.
Grief is that wooden play horse
stranded in the memory of
the tiny hands that once
galloped in and suddenly faded
in an impassable box.

The Dictionary of War

Strange things are happening.
I am still breathing
and my fingers are sauteing words
all crawling in blood.

The dictionary of war
is very simple, commonplace
unsophisticated indifferent pages.
Home means rubble.
An unanswered call means
Siren means impending goodbye.
Mother means endless tears.
Father means forever waiting.
Son means photo frame.
Sister means rape.
Love means oozing blood.
Homeland means a heap of corpses.
Future means amputated legs.


One thing is common
between warring countries.
All use the same dictionary
and the meanings of
mother, father, son, sister
are all same in
all different tongues.

(Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection ‘The Musings of the Dark’ is now available on Amazon.)