The Hope-givers

by Shamik Banerjee (May 2024)

The Goldfinch —Carel Fabritius, 1654


The Hope-givers

Behold! The sparrow’s nest is full;
Two lives have joined her family.
How soft they are—like mohair wool!

For now, these nestlings cannot see
But gape their beaks when little worms
Their mama feeds them tenderly.

Shaped like my fist, these itsy forms’
Shrill chirps can easily exceed
The strident buzz of locust swarms.

Each morning, from a field of reed,
The mama gathers stalks to beef
Up their small home—a daily need.

These birds efface my state of grief
By immutably banking on
Their Maker, proving: with belief

The sternest of all fears are gone.
Their strength boots out my self-doubts too,
Like darkness is expelled by dawn.

Although, one day, they’ll travel to
Another tree, their steadfast hope
Will be the beacon for my view.

In Edinburgh

Within its ducal Old Town, by some lane,
I’ll build a caff, run-of-the-mill and plain,
And name it A’s—an alphabet so dear,
Just like a Hawfinch to some bough austere.
To say “Guid Mornin” to all maids and men
While serving Dundee cakes or Cranachans
Will make my eyeballs gleam. No flinty bosses.
Each Sterling in my purse. Bearable losses.
A shift from nine to seven. Every night,
I’ll witter with the Scottish stars and write
To her, who rises with the Western sun,
“Your prayers have worked. My plaintive days are done.
As promised, I shall bring you here.” and sleep
As bards like Stevenson, certain I’ll reap
The morns I’ve always ached for, unafraid,
Far from the checks of human cavalcade.

The Verity of Life

Once, freighted with great sorrow,
_I sought my elder sister.
She told me, “Come tomorrow.
_I have a lot to do.”
Believing that my brother
_Would help, I spoke to him.
He answered, “Tell our mother.
_She’ll surely tend to you.”
But she was aiding, healing
_My father’s lapsing self.
I could not voice my feeling
_And did not make my stay.
So, being left with friends, I
_Approached them. Yes, they cared
Awhile, then uttered, “Goodbye.”
_And slowly walked away.
Dejected, as I sat on
_The road, a person came
To me and made a pat on
_My crown. “Dear, what’s your grief?”
She asked. I spoke. She held me.
_Her shoulders bore my head.
When all the world repelled me,
_My mother brought relief.

A Sonnet for the Telly
Before, it was the child of Gravity,
Whose pull would soar each night at 10 p.m.
To yoke the teens, grown-ups, and elderly
For 30 Rock, their sunlight, roots, and stem.
Its reign tailed off when innovation drained
Its power and bestowed on human hands
A palm-sized thing where all the world’s contained,
And now, atop some cabinet, it stands.
A showpiece? No. But as defined by R,
My aunt: It plays a noise exuder’s role
When silence mars her home just like a scar
(Some romcom, fully cranked up, meets the goal)—
Much like a trouper versatile and skilled,
Performing in a drama hall unfilled.
A Rainy Day
A rainy day’s not one for me.
All’s garbed in hues of ash: my tree,
Apartment buildings. Schoolkids run
From playgrounds; stormclouds hide their sun.
The world’s in full obscurity.
Some deem this weather gaiety:
They sit indoors; slurp Oolong Tea.
But I don’t think it’s any fun.
A rainy day
Gets access to my mood’s loose key
And fidgets with my sanity
By flipping all the things that shun
Gloom into things that come undone.
A state of near-morbidity:
A rainy day.


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Shamik Banerjee is a young poet from India, residing in in Assam with his parents. Some of his poems are forthcoming in Willow Review, Big Wing Review, and Pulsebeat Poetry Journal.

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