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Gossip by Sekhar Banerjee

Art by Nicholas Roerich


The old gong in the monastery

calls out much before dawn. There is a smell

of incense

and raw alum in the metallic hum

A narrow track hurriedly goes up the valley,

almost groggily,

crosses the foggy pine forest and divides itself

at the over-elaborate gate of the monastery,

as if, it is confused

Then it goes up straight to more forest above

leaving the other half

at the monastery entrance

Life starts early here,

much before the first hen picks up its voice

from the damp haystack

and looks for the sun . The young monks

in scarlet robes

pile up in monastery’s oblong courtyard

like layers of red paint dripping

from the monastery building

I sit on a boulder near Phub Tshering’s orange orchard

and watch the quiet valley down

with the monastery on top of a hill. In the middle, I search

a neutral spot

to listen to the fresh gossips among the silent monastery building ,

the road and the gong

about the castaway winter

roaming in the woods like a lost monk

About the poet:

Sekhar Banerjee is a poet and a Pushcart Award nominee for 2021. The Fern-gatherers’ Association (Red River, 2021) is his latest collection of poems. He has been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, Muse India, Bengaluru Review , Kitaab, Better Than Starbucks, The Tiger Moth Review, Thimble Literary Magazine and elsewhere. He has a monograph on an Indo-Nepal border tribe to his credit. He is a former Secretary of Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi under the Government of West Bengal. He likes mobile photography, tea and remote places. He lives in Kolkata, India.


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