Posted by: tsopr | June 29, 2011

Bina Sarkar Ellias, Indian Poet

Bina Sarkar Ellias is editor, designer and publisher of International Gallerie, an award-winning global arts and ideas publication. Over 14 years of publishing, since 1997, she has been committed to generating critical awareness and understanding of cultures as interpreted through the arts, performing arts, essays, poetry, cinema and photography, and features on significant individuals and communities. She is also a freelance writer and social observer, having written for national newspapers such as The Times of India Sunday Review, and has had columns in the Indian Express and The Hindu. She has edited, Fifty Years of Contemporary Indian Art, 1997, for the Mohile Parikh Centre for Visual Arts, Mumbai, and has designed and published several catalogues and books for reputed artists, poets and photographers. As a poet, her chapbook of poems, The Room has been published by AarkArts, UK. Her poems have been published in Indian poetry and literary anthologies, and have been translated into German and Arabic. She has participated, given talks and chaired discussions on art at events in India and overseas, and has been invited to read her poems at various venues.

Engaged in socio-political and community building issues which she addresses in Gallerie, she received a Fellowship in 2007 from the Asia Leadership Fellow Program and Japan Foundation for research and development of the project: Unity in Diversity: Envisioning Community Building in Asia and Beyond, and the Times Group Yami Women Achiever’s award in 2008. Her website: http://www.gallerie.net 

                              Featured Poetry of Bina Sarkar Ellias

A RIVER

a river
once ran

through
my girlhood

bearing boats,
and fish,

and laughing
broods

of naked
children

browned by
365 suns ––

days of
innocence

unsullied
as its water.

today
the river

has met
the ocean,

its pure
white foam

bears
treasures

of lost
islands,

fruit of
the womb,

and shoals
of kinship.

the river
now is ocean,

the ocean
is sky,

the sky
my skin ––

a nimbus
of light.

THE ROOM

this room speaks
many tongues

its vocabulary
borrowed

from forays
to other lands

reverberate
within

its stark
white walls–

a canvas
for narratives

that punctuate
the silence

with
their telling.

books
lean with

easy comfort
on each other

like ancient
friends.

a bamboo
wind chime

sings to the
banyan tree.

outside
and inside

is the sea
and sky

water
and cloud

locked
in desire.

a paper
woman

with
startled eyes

is silent
witness

to the day’s
alchemy.

the room
hums

with
melodies

of itinerant
travelers

who have
traversed

its Burma
teak floor

like it were
another continent

suspended
in an uncommon

stratosphere––
seductive

beguiling
edge of flame.

THE RAIN TREE

the verandah
holds a rain tree.

small, its roots
tethered to

a clay bowl,
permit capricious

green fingers
to map its course

in neat layers of
branches clothed in

lucent leaves
kissed by the sun.

it might have
inhabited a forest,

or a country courtyard,
or offered shade

to the weary
on a village trail.

but here it is
in my verandah,

nurtured everyday
with sun and water

and music from
a home stereo.

sometimes it sings
green songs

that echo in the
sun-baked room,

and every day
its jewel leaves

make ciphers on
the ebony floor––

i am here, it says,
to drink your words

and breathe the
fiction of your life.

TRANQUIL

tranquil the afternoon,
tranquil the light

that bathes her
in mellow yellow

her body turns
like a leaf in a book––

unhurried, languorous
its pages smooth

as her brow, each word
transparent as dew,

clear as a mountain lake––
her desire to be read.

FOR SYLVIA PLATH

oceans churned
on her brow

wind swept
the leaves

of her life
into dust storms––

flames leapt
in the mirrors

of her eyes
that dwelt

in a penumbra
of life and death.

what fables
she had conspired

and what truth
and pain

that led to
a gas oven

and a golden lotus
in her dull grave.

RAVSHAN
DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN
MAY 14, 2010

his name is Ravshan –– Light

his voice heavy, laden
with the weight
of Soviet tanks
sighs discontent.

his eyes, morose,
are pools of
night at noontime

his body, slight,
is a slender branch
of a tree tormented
by an uncharitable wind

his lips, a sullen line
stretch into
a reluctant smile.

his name is Ravshan –– Light
and he walks in darkness.

YEARS RACE

years race, our skin gets old
our eyes still young, blaze the gold
of a distant sunset, of tales untold.

there in the ocean waves mummer
how fragile earthlings flit and flutter
through life’s glass houses and gutter.

there in the corner shadows whisper
where are the sufis and scholars ?
where are the new age philosophers?

there in the lust for more and more
of murder, mayhem, greed and gore
can there be much more in store?

years race, our skin gets old
our dreams frozen in the cold
when will a noble new world unfold?

WERE IT NOT FOR ELLIPSIS

Were it not for ellipsis imagination would be doomed to lying dead somewhere on the wayside of what is spelled out with each syllable stating what is and why and nothing left in the shadows, nothing felt in the half light of dream and awakening how dull would life be then how smooth and perfect and spelled out and dull.

LIKE A RIVER OF INK

Like a river of ink your words stain the inside of my being with beauty and knowing of the infinite journey of a universe where all the suns, the moons, the stars and constellations parade to the drumbeat of each pulse beating at the centre of my heart like dew dropping on a leaf of time.

I HELD THE LAST LIGHT

I held the last light of dusk in my fist so tight to not let it go but it ran out like a river from the gaps in my fingers so frail they could not hold back the deluge of luminosity that filled me with its shimmer and the light it washed over my table my books my teacup my weathered keyboard my being and swept it all into a solarium of contentment–even as the black sky leaned heavy on the window pane.

Copyright © 2011 Bina Sarkar Ellias

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