Winter in Calcutta by Debarati Pal
Winter, a parchment beside the oasis of the inkpot,
Reading the prominent veins on the leaves of fall.
The water which fell from the petals silently on the soil, Gives birth to petrichor; a summer flower in winter begot.
With the soft north wind comes the mountain birds in ecstasy, Bringing news of distant lands under their travel weary wings. For in this land winter is not so harsh, winged refugees it brings. Snow is just a metaphor here, found only in Keats’ poesy.
The dog lying in the afternoon sun, carefree, just a hearty meal in hope, Brings memories of summer vacations, the lure of the happy days. We all wanted to grow up when we were small, mother says And now those days are like dreams, between our nine to five jobs.
I always liked the window seat of the evening mail,
How the world went to sleep to rise every day without fail.
The nayantaras become lazy, not bearing many a flower, The winter calls the petunias beside, they bloom in answer.
Notes on December from a Florist in the Dark by Anindya Dutta
I watched daylight, like December, slip
Through my idle hands-
Whatever of the scarce bounty:
My tired, cold skin could not soak up;
As the evening chases the last of lovers
To the ends of each street,
There will be no one to stop by anymore
To buy or look
At the flowers that remain,
Their edges withering already-
You cannot sell two-day old blossoms
On the third day;
I bundle them and leave them inside,
Wishing I could tell them -
People are searching for April blooms
To thaw afresh in winter for them;
Perhaps they grieve for those
They love in spring, as must I too-
I cannot lie in vain.
Or that December reminds me of many things,
But mostly you;
And bring home sometimes some lilies
I keep in my vase by the window,
But a florist leaves a floweret
Or a leaf, sometimes,
In too many places of his crumbling home,
And must find one particular
On a December afternoon,
Waiting to sell his chrysanthemums and dahlias-
To people who wish to fill
The vacancy of spring with the rare spoils of winter,
And without pity or foreknowledge,
Crush them upon frozen lakes in their heart:
Trying to melt the ice;
As didn't I bring the lilies
To waste away by the frosted glass;
I cannot sustain them in a vase inside a cold hearth,
Amongst these dead souvenirs
I am torn between setting ablaze,
Or hiding them further away.
That December should remind me of only you,
But it reminds me also of other things
I cannot remember
In equal parts-
Of pain, hatred, longing, solace and sanctity;
And that this should be beyond us on most days:
Fits to be the bane of our mortality;
So I must wait out these days,
Let my tulips and petunias left unsold,
And my favorites of childhood gather in dust
On my library shelves,
I will see December, like daylight, slip
Through my cold hands-
Whatever of the brittle time:
I have not slash across myself with.
Wintering by Priyanka Kaushal
Which season comes first?
Is it spring, summer,
autumn, then winter?
Does it matter?
Is a coneflower
planted in spring prettier,
the purple brighter,
the bloom more dazzling,
than the one
planted just before the
frost set in,
the one that wintered
hard and early?
If you come upon
a cluster blooming in summer,
can you tell the difference?
Can the butterflies
and bees who come
for nectar tell?
Do they have any favorites?
Do the insects attack
both with an equal fervor?
Or do they feel the
Are the roots of
both as hardy?
Who cares more about saving
for the coming winter?
But most of all ---
what happens to the heart
of the winter bud,
when the sun arrives at last?
Is it then that she remembers
that she is a flower?
Dead Flower Beds by Zoya Ahmad
The house that I live in is a beautiful one,
11 rooms, all with a view.
The Backyard is my finest piece.
Lush greens and four graves as flower beds.
Holding the unbreathable, whom I buried carefully,
Ripping their hearts out, so that the anatomy couldn't beat..
Every night I lay down on my sheets, counting the nights that have passed since my last sleep.
Every night I smell them rising towards me in winters cold
Or suspect them to be stirring in their sleep.
Whispering to one another, about me.
So I planted the shrubs,
Of Roses, Daisies, Mandragora, and Poppies.
Perhaps the flower bed shall keep them (maybe even me) at peace..
I have a lover now.
Who adores me like the sailor's sea.
And is fond of the flower beds
That I made out of them for me.
Taking delight of them at breakfast or at tea,
I look at him at awe how he could could never smell them like me,
How am I to tell him,
Beneath them lie the corpses
Of my lovers who refused to love me anymore,
So I tucked them to eternal winter sleep, and breathed the fragrances of my flower beds,
And wonder if he'll be among them too one day, if I wanted him to be..
About the poets:
Anindya is an MBBS graduate from Assam, currently undergoing a rural posting while preparing for my PG entrance examinations, between which he needs to sit down and write something- a poem, a story, anything to celebrate the big picture of life he loses track of, sometimes. Follow him on Instagram @_naiadyn_19
Debarati Pal is a literature student and published poet based in Kolkata. Through her poetry, she tries to highlight nature, human emotions and the little details of everyday life. She believes that in this fast-changing world, writing helps us to reconnect and better understand ourselves. She is deeply inspired by Agha Shahid Ali's poetry. Follow her on Instagram @_.metaphor or visit her blog at https://inking11.wordpress.com
Zoya Ahmad is a student of M.A. English Literature in Aligarh Muslim University. She is an admirer of Classics Post Colonial and feminist literature, and loves to read poems as well. Apart from that Zoya is an aspiring writer herself, penning creative pieces like poetry and short fiction. You can follow her on Instagram @xoya.__.sauce
Priyanka Kaushal loves the musicality, imagery, and gentle power of poetry. Mary Oliver and David Whyte live close to her heart. She loves flowers, the entire spectrum of colours, the sun, the moon, books, and weathered, soulful beauty in all forms. Her poetry lives at becomingawildflower.com and she has been featured in the Write and Beyond magazine. You can find her on Instagram at @priyanka_kaushal
About the artist:
Shreya Das is a poet and a self-taught artist, she goes by the pen name ‘Milli’. She started painting during the first lockdown, as a medium to expressively visualize her poems and she hasn’t stopped since. She finds beauty in capturing art as it is; with no effort to hide the flaws. She believes that art is way of relief and an imprint of her existence. She shares her journey on her Instagram page @artonotto