‘The trees grow upside down’ : Five poems by Papiya Bhattacharya

What love does to you

I eat when I must sleep
I dream when I must work
Said my little heart
To me one winter morn.

‘Can you tell me
What is it the matter with me?’
‘Do you tremble so and does
Rain make you want for snow?

‘Does the sun make you
Want to sing and dance?
Go perch upon the clouds
And blow a warm kiss?

To the unruly winds?’
I asked it, back. My heart,
It agreed and said
‘Yes oh yes, I am not sure

Of anything anymore
The night seems like day.
Midnight like a summers day,
The fish they fly, I think.

And the birds, they float upon-
The waters blue, and
The trees grow upside down
And I am not upright anymore.’

I sighed and was sure.
It was the old malady..
A feeling as old as the world
Love, as the madmen called it..


The blue jacaranda

The hills grow mist laden
The sunset paints the sky,
Orange, gold, purple and red.
Jacaranda trees wait on the hill side.

Laden with blue flowers,
That are His colour.
For Krishna waits for her,
In the twilight under His tree.

Radha knows her Lord waits
She wants to walk slowly
And make Him long for her.
But her feet grow wings.

She runs to Him, her very own.
While the music of her anklets
Reach his ears.
His flute plays on.

She has reached the blue jacaranda.
Where He waits for her.
She cannot speak but is content
While He looks at her.


The purpose of my beauty

When I touch a dot of red,
To my forehead, between my brows.
I see you standing behind me,
In the mirror, it’s two of us.

I line my eyes with kohl,
And close them.
And can feel your breath near,
On me. Looking at me.

I colour my lips red,
And you are near me.
It’s as if you know,
The reason for it all.

I am clothed in the colour,
That you like best; the drapes fall soft.
You can gently slip
Your arms around me.

Your eyes smile at me,
As if they can guess my secrets.
I want to be beautiful for you,
What other reason can beauty fulfil?


I will tell you a story

I will tell a story,
And lull you to sleep.
Then look at you
And smile.

I will become the breeze,
Soaked in the fragrance
of the golden champa,
And run through your hair.

Sweet sleep will move you,
To dream laden lands.
Where I will twinkle as a star,
And shower starlight upon you.

The night will cool, the
Breeze run through your hair.
You will sleep with the stars.
And I will be with you.

To become the sunlight,
That gently caresses
your eyes. When they open.
To the world, again.


The Divine Flute Player

With mischief in his eyes,
And a smile on his lips.
He watches us, moving up and down
On the waves of our earthly desires.

He waits and watches,
And laughs loud. His sweet mirth
Sometimes spills over into our days.
And we have a merry day.

Why don’t we merry make, I wonder!
In churches, temples or mosques.
For He is full of merriment.
Ready for a spell of laughter, anytime.

He is not solemn nor grave.
The grim pictures painted of Him
are wrong. He is the Lord of Love.
He loves to laugh and play.

Playing when done with,
Little Lord Krishna sits under a tree
With his Radha. She loves Him forever. While He plays on His bamboo flute.

The strains of the flute,
Make the winds restless and worry the trees
The night stars wake up in the day, the sun feels more benign and
Makes way for the moon to rise.

The music causes the heart
Of the seas to rise and fall.
It makes the apsaras dance in Heaven. The music makes our hearts come alive.


Papiya Bhattacharya is a published journalist and poet. She is a science writer with a Masters in Biochemistry, and has been a journalist and writer for twenty years. She has worked with Deccan Herald and The New Indian Express in the past, and currently works as a freelance writer. The publications she writes for include Scroll, Wire, Leonardo Reviews, Femina, The Week, Planet Earth, SciDev.net, Current Science, Wire.in, The Statesman, The Hindu, Women’s Features Service, Health & Nutrition, Kyoorius Design, Sakaal Times, 24k etc.

These poems are from her book ‘The songs of Maya’ with about 140 poems on different themes written over a period of twelve years. She has divided her poems under four broad genres of love and longing; worldly pursuits; philosophy and nature. These are the emotions that a young girl Maya goes through in her life till she attains womanhood and comes to terms with the world and herself.

Read more poetry on Bengaluru Review :

बारिश और जैज़ का संगीत : एल्विन पैंग की कविताएँ

‘I am a footstep on the slippery road’ : Five poems by Sameer Tanti

‘You may see the city slowing down’ : Five poems by Malcolm Carvalho




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