The HyperTexts

Mitali Chakravarty

Mitali Chakravarty writes in quest of harmony and in that spirit founded the Borderless Journal, an online forum that features writers from all over the world. She translates from Bengali to English and has been part of numerous anthologies and journals. She lives with her sons and husband on a tiny island basking in the warmth of their love.

Flight of the Angsana Oriole has poetry that explores different aspects of life: loss, grief, joy, laughter, healing and some larger global issues, like climate change and war. The publisher says: “Mitali Chakravarty’s Flight of the Angsana Oriole aptly takes us through all lyrical paraphernalia of cascading-devastating images and invariably chances upon a serene revolt.” The book can be accessed here.

Angsana Oriole

I see angsana blooms
take flight — golden orioles
fluttering against the sky.

The sun glitters on the
bejewelled river. A white
speedboat revs by.

Wings flit amidst
blooms like butterflies,
angsana-orioles fly.

I do not know who sings —
the birds, the blooms or
the skies?

(First published in Flight of the Angsana Oriole: Poems)


Blood of my blood forever be.
Bones of my blood forever be.
The umbilical bind celebrates
A bit of you in me that forever

Stays. The little cells that formed
Tiny hands, fingers, faces, your
Lovely lashes — some of it still
Stays, invading my bloodstream,

Eternalising your bond with me.
With an invisible string, I continue
Tied for life to separate souls that
Started in my womb, then grew,

Flourished on their own but still
Enfolded me with love and care,
Embalming my soul with the
Effulgence of Motherhood.

(First published in Flight of the Angsana Oriole: Poems)

News Today

Each day, the television shows —

The earth cries in pain.
Wars tear her entrails till
oozing blood, she lies,
shell-shocked and half dead.

Will sunflowers grow here
again? Or poppies? Will there
be gardens if bones bleach
in acid fields or nuclear rains?

Floods, fires swallow
homes. Quakes crumble
towns, shake them till
they drop to the ground,

littered with broken bricks
and arms. Tsunamis. Seas
annihilate land while oil wells,
mines— both — dredge into

the human hearth. Some
are dead. Some drown.
Earth, does she still smile
on humankind? And the sun?

Lalon no longer sings. I weep.
Where are the voices of love?
Of peace? Where can we turn?
Can hope rise out of a dirge?

A Love Song

Sing me a song that
rides on a breeze. Sing
me a song from where
butterflies flit across

traffic junctions. Trees
line the river and palms
the sea. But there is an
incongruity. The birds

wake up to neon lights
each night while,
sleeping pills lull
the insomniac.

Flood waters fill
the parched
lands. Noah
is missing.

There is
no ark.
No fish [1].

And endless news reels.

Tamam shud.

A fresh start without Noah’s ark?

Sing me a song that rings of a dawn
untroubled by wars, tsunamis and floods.
Sing me a song that patters like rain
watering the grain till it can feed need.

Sing me a song that soars to the skies
unaware of borders, that war and divide.
Sing me a song that colours a rainbow
filled with diversities humming in harmony.

Sing me a song that fills the universe
with words whispering healing incantations.
Sing me a song that melds your life and mine
with a peaceful earth throbbing love.

[1] A reference to the Hindu Matsya Avatar who had saved the earth from a great flood.


I do not talk of home anymore.
I do not talk of home because
it hurts. There is my mother,

Earth, who bears bravely with
her limpid eyes, deep
oceans swirling on sands,

exhausted by the test of
time, ground to dust
by the injustices of history.

Or, did they say it was progress?
I forget. But, I do not talk of home
anymore. Home, they said,

is where I am at peace,
calm and loved, accepted.
But where can I find these?

Across the skies floating
on a dry petal in a breeze

(First published in Brown Critique Home Anthology)

An Old Song

Can I write you a poem?
A poem about my home —
where emerald and gold
shone in mustard fields,

where jasmines sang on trees,
where colours swam across
varied lands, hills undulated
into seas, flowers flitted in

the breeze, wafting on the
bed spread with nature’s
grandiose treat. But that
is as it was. Now I have these —

— these hurts from the past
that invade my dreams. They
are no longer real. But, that
is still my song, my poem,

about all the wrongs, all the
ravages that leave residues.
My home is broken now.
How can I build a new song?

(First published in Lothlorien Journal)


A poem inspired by Lalon Fakir and Tagore

My home has no walls; no windows;
nor doors. It soars to the sky and
stretches to distances that I cannot
find. Long ago, in a land where there

was life, a man sang of love.
He had nothing to hide. His
home was in the wild, where
rivers had no dams, no banks.

The water flowed unimpeded
till it touched the clouds. They
embraced. It rained harmony.
Dancing in that rain, I lost my

brick walls. My home lighted by
stars, waited for the seven colours
to paint a new arc in the infinite,
mesmerised by wonders.

(First published in Brown Critique Home Anthology)


My body feels weary
But my spirit soars.

I still feel the breeze kiss my lips.

My hair is grey.

I put on creams and dyes to look fresh.
I savour the love of my family and friends.
I like the freedom that comes with age.
I grow ageless with the rites of time.

I feel sixteen inside.
The years blend
Into a fine sheen that
Protects me from all
Unwanted attention and interferences.

I am happy to age.
It has taught me to relish
Every fantastic day of my life.

How lovely and aged this universe....
Every passing moment makes me cherish it more….

I Walk Alone

I walk alone on the street.
Sometimes Durga, sometimes Mary,
Sometimes just me, myself —
Do I have the right to choose?

Beyond the reaches of the veil,
The purdah that covers my gait,
Beyond the reaches of a man,
Of a support, of a claim —

Do I have the right to choose?
Can I sing to any God I like?
Can I live my life on my own terms?
Can I walk out to the hills,

Take a plunge in the river
And retain my honour? Will
You cherish me if from a
Wanton, I want to become

A wife? Will you accept me?
A woman of many lives,
I have been a warrior, a mother,
An astronaut, a leader —

And yet you label me as a half,
A half who needs support, why?
I am also Durga, Mary, Fatima.
In my womb, gestates mankind, life.

Ophelia in Sita’s Arms

Death will come. Death.
Quietly flows the stream.
Death will come riding a boat
On the waves of a dream,

Calm soothing sleep
Ophelia-like strewn with flowers.
What would she have thought —
Abandonment like Sita?

Or was Sita’s something greater?
The people’s ruler, Democratic,
Swayed by the desire of the masses,
Was Rama wrong to please?

Ophelia driven by madness,
Misused — torn by pain.
Sita, emboldened, birthed
On her own, gave way to Hope.

Death will come. Death.
Quietly flows the stream.
Life flows to Death —
Reborn, the soul returns.

Could Sita have comforted Ophelia to life?

An Unwed Mother

Mother Mary you say?

Tall, leaning among folds of cloth
with the kindest eyes that ever were —
that is how I think of her...
holding the baby Christ,

An unwed mother —

People did not believe her dream,
and yet, the baby she bore.
Immaculate conception, they said,
from an unnamed Father —
that was fine
as he was Christ.

And yet when forced into trade,
when forced to give way,
the young virgin lured and abased,
now an unmarried, impregnated young girl
condemned by others
cannot hold up her head and say —

What have I done wrong?
I was forced all along —
the baby I bore
should not be abhorred,
should not be Tabooed for not
knowing the father’s name.

Christ’s Father remained unnamed.
Then why can’t my child’s?

Will Mother Mary her crib bless?


I have crossed borders.
I have crossed oceans.
I have crossed mountains.
I have no country.
I have no nationality.
I have no caste.
I have no barriers.
I believe in mankind.

My past is the artist of Altamira,
The thinkers of Greece,
The sages of India,
The travellers in time,
The flowering of the Renaissance,
The music of the East and West,
The colors that sing stories of life,
Tunes that mesmerize.

The New York Twin towers.
The Bamian Buddha.
The burning parliaments.
The destruction of Iraq.
The killing of Saddam.
Hotels on fire.
Temples burnt. Mosques burnt.
Churches destroyed.
Synagogues demeaned.
These are madnesses
Of the current-day world
From which I fly.

Dust unto dust.

In death or destruction,
There can be life.
Trinity is a concept that defies
All the present-day endings
As lies.

Go and look.
They are all there.
The New York Towers.
The Bamian Buddha.
Iraq. Saddam.
Hotels. Parliaments.
Temples. Mosques.
Churches. Synagogues.

In your mind.
And mine.
They can all be rebuilt in time.

I am a citizen of the world.
Looking forward in time.

First published in In Reverie


In unison,
A wail rose across the skies,
The tortured souls together cried.
They lost their lives
In floods, in quakes —
Tens of thousand at one wave,
Himalayas falling from their heights,
Water receding taking lives.
Leyte floods...
Left only sands.
Where are the men?
Where are the homes
That sheltered all the little feet?
Mankind wiped out with lightning speed!
What is left?
Destitutes with no homes and no shoes.
No food to eat.
No clothes to wear.
No hands to wipe away the wretched tears.

Join hands in unison and pray.
Let our lives be happy and stay.
All the souls that cry and wail
May fulfillment prevail.
May they get food and water
May happiness be theirs to stay.

First published in In Reverie, written for the Leyte floods and Himalayan Landslide


Waiting is a silence.
Silence speaks songs,
quiet murmurs of sweet
nothings. Silence is the

passage of time, a space
between two pauses, the
singing of a Tibetan bowl,
the chiming of whispering

winds that tinkle while caressing
the tintinnabula. But waiting
never ends — with life or death.
An eternity is not enough to wait

with percussive silence for
another to sing a song, hum
a tune. Waiting is an infinitely
active process in Godot’s world.


Celebrate the Independence Day
While Munch-like screams explode
Like fireworks lighting the night sky.

Silent, vociferous, full of angst.
Unable to speak.
Bleak, bleak, bleak.

Oh, the cruelty of life!
The anger and strife,
Guernica revisited each time.

This is not just about soldiers who die.
But about all those who silently cry
For a dozen different whys?

A young girl raped and killed
By eight men who jubilate.
While God silently watched—

As in His temple He stood witness to the desecration
Of innocence lost —
Mutilated, annihilated, destroyed, bludgeoned.

Of a life finished —
in Pain, in Agony, in Shame.

And the men, what happened to them?

A sixteen-year-old still has to get water from a well
in a world where Homo Deus will be cured of death.
Then Three, the Three men set her aflame.

Three were the number of men who travelled from afar
Bearing gifts for a baby in a crib.

Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Parsee, Sikh —
Does any faith ask you to annihilate and break?

Take what men can never grant — Life?

And the men, what happened to them?

Saffron, the colour of sacrifice.
Green, the colour of life
Bonded by the purity of white.

Blood-spattered now, it lies.

And the men what happened to them?

First published in

Slash & Burn

(on Hathras Rape)

I watch with my lips sealed.
Watch each girl burn,
burn the stains
of Predators’
till their life is done.

I watch with my ears closed —
Watch rancid hands
leap and lustfully
Immolate last
night’s Fun.
Clean up the mess. The job is done.

Unemployed, porn-ridden mobiles watch —
watch with closed eyes the horror,
the horror of a life violated,
absolved with age-old
rituals that, steeped
in patriarchy,
justify Lust.
Lust that Gandhi fasted to dust?

I watch with my eyes closed —
Watch gross lurid fingers unravel
the hate, the bestiality —
Weeping women wipe away
their wails. Rise,
Rise with
the power of whipping winds!

Like Kali, come forth dripping blood;
Seal the fate of those giving in to lust.

Ca Dhimahi Tanno Kali Prachodayat
Ca Dhimahi Tanno Kali Prachodayat
Ca Dhimahi Tanno Kali Prachodayat

*Part of a Hindu mantra invoking the blessings of Kali, the dark feminine force that destroys demons.

First published in

The HyperTexts