The Simple Poem

The Simple Poem
Abhishek Sengupta


this poem will begin from here.  

it shall start with a dusk and a child. trying.
                             Trying to fly a kite in the rain.
                             The sunrays have just dimmed out
                             or mellowed, surrendering to a dark azure.
                             The pitter-patter of rains
                             drench the fingers of the child on the roof; fingers
                             that hold on to the thread that connects, quite shamelessly,
                             the dark skies to a kite, blue coloured, throughout.

the dusk
i would have thought of writing a poem,
and only thought, when the thread would snap
taking the kite down, and the child too.
let’s watch the two as they progress downwards;
let’s watch the two and see if down’s the place they’ll be;
let’s watch the two.
                             One spiralling down through the open air, not knowing
                             where it shall land; the other
                             climbing down the stairs,
                             running down the stairs,
                             to a place,
                             to a land where
                             the first one promised to land.

i should have known, are ants.
they shall eat through a poem i should have written;
a simple poem, it would have been.

it’s yet too early to say, too early to speak,
like it always is, until it’s too late.
so, let’s return to the dusk,
a dusk drenched in rain, and a music too
that no one was listening to yet.

                             The child is running through the fields.
what was he running from?
no, as children, we don’t run from things;
we only run to things, toward things that call us.
                             The child is running for the promised land;
                             the child is running through the rain
                             making way through jostling droplets
                             that dance upon his skin constantly,
                             a geometry of dance that the child neither understands nor tries to.

and it all leads us to a question,
a basic, simple question that’s important:
how does a child
who neither understands fear, dance, nor geometry
calculate the location of the kite’s fall?
how does the child who knows nothing, know?
do each of us tear it all from our unbirth,
before we decide to spring out;
before the first dusk has dawned;
before the first kite, first rain?
the fear. the geometry. the dance.
is growing up an unlearning of things we don’t want to remember?
and who teaches us to forget and not remember the forgetting?

                             The end of the field is approaching.
it would also bring about the end
of the child’s voyage for a fallen kite;
the end of the field is approaching,
and with its end,
we’d be approaching a few more things
the child doesn’t know are there,
like the butterfly sitting on the fallen kite,
or the empty chair with raindrops playing on it,
or a blank sheet of paper, equally drenched,
and a man who was also a corpse, lying on the grasses,
trying to fall asleep in the rain.

                             The child reaches eventually
                             to the promised land where the kite lay waiting
                             for him; he finds the corpse man too.
                             He calls him, he shakes him;
                             the corpse man doesn’t want to talk.
                             The child picks up the wet blank sheet of paper
                             in his hand, turns it overleaf,
                             finds the other side is blank too.
                             He wonders if both sides are equally blank
                             for it doesn’t feel the same. no, it doesn’t.
                             But he carefully puts the paper down on the empty chair,
                             and then, he reaches for the kite; the kite
                             that should have been drenched; same for the butterfly
                             that sat on it, and yet, both were dry. yes, absolutely so.
                             He wonders if he ought to question such inconsistency,
                             but he likes the outcome; so, decides not to,
                             for who cares if theories are false
                             as long as our wishes come true?
                             He walks on with the dry kite in his hand,
                             he walks on for the roof again,
                             he walks on; the butterfly follows him through.

a few years back when i started writing poems
i wondered one evening, what is it
that time could rhyme with?
and that question itself was also the reason
i thought i’d stop writing poems,
for you could never find a perfect rhyme to time,
and any sentence that you might construct
to rhyme with time would be
just as inconsistent as any other.
time was the original inconsistency of all theories;
it was a wish that was always true and therefore, false;
but to keep things simple in this simple poem
that i would’ve written, let’s just say
time is the only essential ingredient for promises,
and we’ll see why it’s so important for this poem.

                             When the child reaches the roof, it is dusk still.
                             He wonders if it hasn’t been too long
                             since the dusk had begun; he wonders will
                             the dusk go on till it’s again dawn?
                             He picks up the thread, ties it to the kite,
                             and glides it to the breeze once again.
                             He watches it soar into the rain, dry forever,
                             just like the butterfly that flies beside him;
                             he watches the red coloured butterfly fly, jubilant,
                             unperturbed by the falling raindrops. He smiles,
                             and then, looking up once again, he finds
                             at the other end of the thread that he holds in his hand
                             in the half-darkened azure sky, it’s not his kite that’s attached
                             but gliding effortlessly, near the clouds,
                             is the corpse man.

is it your heartbeat that i hear?
do you hear it too?
are we coming close to the word i gave you?
will the rain make you dance like it had in the past?
it always did; like the last time, will it last
until the very end, my dear?

                             The child who knows neither dance nor fear
                             keeps staring at the corpse man floating in the sky.
                             He wonders what happened to his kite;
                             how will he retrieve it if he doesn’t know where it went?
                             But he can’t take his eyes off the corpse man.
                             He had never seen anything like it before,
                             and perhaps, will not be seeing anything as amazing in the near future,
                             when from behind the clouds he sees a woman
                             gliding forth towards the corpse man; she swims
                             as if the skies were her swimming pool.

my dear, do you remember the afternoon
you had come into my room shouting my name
and I hushed you saying i was writing a poem;
you were disturbing my thoughts, i said;
you had said nothing, but wept.
they say we are born
just as many times as we die.
that afternoon had been a birth for me. and a death.
do you remember, my dear?
the afternoon.

                             The child watches as the woman comes gliding
                             towards the corpse man,
                             she circles around him a few times, and then,
                             holds him in her arms. And weeps.

i don’t blame.
the bombs that fell in the schools of innocence
like some kite had snapped its thread while flying.
i don’t blame.
the butterfly that sat on our child’s coffin
for parents never expect to see it.
i don’t blame.
the rains that fell too for the next few evenings
trying its best to make you dance again
but failing over and over again.
i don’t blame.
your heart that became unusually quiet
a few days later.
i don’t blame.
the complicated images that ran through my head
always, over and over again.
i don’t blame.
readers, who shall never read.
i don’t blame.

i had promised you
while i still had your heart
that i shall write a simple poem, one day;
a poem that’ll become a butterfly and fly away
from the sheet of paper on which i’d write it,
and bring us back our child, to you and me.
i spent years writing;
filled pages, notebooks, ears and brains,
but couldn’t write the simple poem.

so, this dusk i shall sit to write the promised words;
the simple poem
that’ll bring our child back to us,
and i know, like every time before,
i shall fail this time too.
at the end of the endless field,
i shall sit on a chair
waiting for words to weave a simple poem,
and i know, words won’t come,
for i know, words don’t come;
all that’s simple is synonymous to the dead.
how i’d long to be simple again
if not through words, at least, by death;
i’ll fall from the chair to the green grasses below,
lying, sleeping, uncomplicated.
i wonder if one of my poems
shall learn to write itself, after i’m dead,
and turn into a butterfly to fly away. and

this poem will begin from here.


Abhishek Sengupta is imaginary. Mostly, people would want to believe that he writes fiction & poetry which borders on Surrealism and Magical Realism, and is stuck inside a window in Kolkata, India, but he knows none of it is true. He doesn’t exist. Only his imaginary writing does, and have appeared or are forthcoming in Outlook Springs, Thrice Fiction99 Pine StreetKaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, and others. If you’re gifted, you may also imagine him in Twitter @AbhishekSWrites or in his hypothetical website –