Poems by Rudra Kinshuk


Horse Anecdote

The earthen horse reads the miracles 
of the Fokir, Dinarshahi Pir
 under the gulancha plant.

Condensed silence gets broken up
into pieces of probability
within the souls of infertile women.
Waterfalls glide down horsebacks. 

At the grace of the Fokir, the saint
our crops grow up
our women, too
to be festive and fertile every year.

Urbanized agony surges back
into the souls of the earthen horses.
I place all these at the feet of Dinarshahi
And the citrus groove
looks nostalgic
as if the widening blue
in a mystic song of Lalon Fokir.

Painting the House

Difficult are the days
 of painting a house,
from selection of paints 
to that of the season.
Even tranquilizers fail 
to soothe our apprehensions.

Painting a house is painting one’s own sky.

I have been reading
 interior design
to comprehend feathered choreography
of leaves in the rains.

Distant trees are getting
drenched to the core of silence.


Just the stones waiting to rescue us 
from the cries of the present
 the telescopes of faith pointed down at the ground. 
- Jayanta Mahapatra

Hundred and eight temples
 of Lord Shiva, here
Mahakal, the time eternal
resides within the souls of silence.

And my tourist eyes read the shadow
on the face of our young guide
at Kalna, the town 
of temples and mystics.
Pages of Shaiva Siddhanta 
open themselves to the wind,
coming inwards 
from the Ganga.

Fragrance of naval- roots 
reminds me of
memories of the wooden goddess
and the songs of Bhava Pagla, 
the saint eccentric.

Am I a seed 
with time still within?
Silent rocks can articulate silence only.

Roots and flowers are two aspirant ends
of a bridge over a river.
Water flowing under 
knows the anecdote
of lotus blooming within the spinal tube.

The Bird of Ether

The dark bird of ether
 that cured my wounds
 with its magic of soothing balm
 visited my dreams last night
After so many ages past 
it came back to my garden
with its ethereal body

I couldn’t touch it 
as it could get its fragrant feathers
 drenched or melting

In the dream of a silent bridge 
I play with the rough stones…

The Gardener

Wait still for the bird’s return
to silence in the evening.
Wait still for the buds blooming.

You water, you care
and love like a fool
 in this spidereric world.

Who cares to look 
at this waiting? 
Haste forgetting
 is a clever palimpaste.

While weeding out the rhizomes
you ruminate Ramprosad.

For an Oriole

An oriole emerges
out of a small nest,
letters of a mysterious language
I decode it all by myself.

A wintry evening,
 mist and chill
 from a distant land 
a loving soul remembers me, 
I like it thinking.
I see the bird, 
its fragrant shadow. 
Who do you stand
 there in darkness?

Someone weeps
 somewhere in the woods.

The Wheel Chair

Don’t fly away to those cruel arms
I’ve been waiting for you
 for several ages with my soul looking like a pea.
I’ve no hands to touch upon.
Only two eyes feast on your sudden flight
 in the ethereal blue.

How does this wheelchair embrace
 the castellation of your stars?

Be  Happy

What things should I share
 with you?
These failures of words, 
tentative galaxies?
And roots 
that anchor me in your dream.

How can a bird that lullabies
 the winged fantasies look
 into the dark whispers in the soul of Yajati?

Be happy.
 This is my prayer when the sun 
walks over the footbridge 
of the reminiscent Gurjoyani river.


My dear soul, get prepared 
for another farewell
Farewell into silence, 
never to be broken again

Silence can best express 
a long journey, 
walking over fire, 
braving the volcanic Jatinga
Dews get collected 
on the wings of nilkantha birds
Don’t trespass
into the world of gods and goddess,
an outcast, an asura,  you are,
no elixir to be churned out
 from the depth of seas.
Her sharp trident for you
 always blazes.

First Love

I keep flowers 
on this piece of stone 
in solitude of this woods
 a bird hides a seed somewhere
 I don’t think I’ll return
 again along this road 
life is such a riddle,
the bird comes out of darkness
 I read its silence, 
as if an inspiration
on  the shadow of a half fallen tree
holding fasts to interrogation
Should I say this to be
 the second burning brazier?
Every love is the first love
with its own chalice…


Should I trespass
 into her charmed world
 an island of clouds?

A mere hoopoe bird,
 acrophobic stays close to earth

This archetypal fire 
opens the unending travel
from one birth to another
in search of fifty one pieces 
of her divine body.

Meditation on Muse

Your silent footprints are 
the whispers of eternity.
A mortal barbet, I’ve wished 
Always to defy death
in remembrance of your red.

Muse, where do you live?
When does the sun rise there?
How does the rose bloom?

When death ravages everywhere,
I wait for your ethereal fragrance,
for a glimpse of that proverbial rose,
a lighthouse in this perennial darkness.

For the Distant Star

The distant star in the blue
twinkles in silence.
Its whisper breaks into dewdrops
on the blades of grass.

Dhimal, the boy speaks
is music to me in this small village
of North Bengal.

Should I kneel here for the whole night
Under this leparded sky and weep?
God is tears in silence, 
a remembrance of seeds.

For the distant star I’ll wait
another life of fragrant roots,
another life of water and pebbles.

Summer at Totopara

Tourist eyes look at them, strange,
mother and daughter,
picking up lice from here.
Extinguished fire under trees
speaks of them who left .
And adventures of Ishpa god
recede silently into forgetfulness.
Tourists find only the pebbles,
but one who smell wisp of fragrance 
of water underneath
is the lover. 
Summer at Totopara 
ends in the anecdotes of Pidua,
 the back-faced demon
and withering rivers.

The Lone Traveler

(In Memory of David McCutchion)

From the dawn to twilight
you walk among ruins
to listen to the whispers of stones
your camera got flashing on melting shadows
disappearing into the jaws,
the eternal dictates of time.

Yet love is an enigmatic musk deer
charmed in ephemeral fragrance.

The Deul temple 
near the forest of Goddess Shyamarupa
evokes the memory of weeping love.

Before the setting of the final dark
a collective howl of jackals 
over the puddles of the river Ajay beside
to signal the beginning of a new retrospective.


 Dear friend, remember 
me as a lone barbet,
 melting into rains
 for your perfumed bath in silence. 
Very mortal this soul, 
out of which emerges 
the weeping blue 
Use it as a mirror

Manisha’s Stone -forest

(For Nigel Hughes)

Manisha moves
along with the fossilized darkness
to the hot water kunda at Bakreswar.
A journey of a bird to
the eggs of eternity
wakes up rivers
within the embrace of your love.
Love is our religion,
No spirituality beyond that.
The earth grows smaller,
open your embrace.
Silence is the language
of eternity.
My friend speaks silence
before the bird

Meditation on Self

Pure wine drips down
on rice-crops, extending 
their aspiration to the blue.
Words, my dear words
reveal if there’s anything
to be sacred in life
but this light of the evening clouds.
Wind blows to the distant land
over our dwellings, 
our bird-incarnations,
the red and the blue.
Is this my motherland, 
blood-smeared, worn out?
And I remember
my memory of an Inuit life
which I’ve left in the soul
of a dog, pulling a sledge.
I call the old woodcutter 
and ask
if God weeps
within the rings of a felled tree.

The Bird of Ether 

I keep flowers on this piece of stone 
in solitude of this woods,
a bird hides a seed somewhere.
I don’t think I’ll return
again along this road, 
life is such a riddle,
nothing can be rewritten.
The bird comes out of nothing
I read her silence, 
as if an inspiration 
on the shadow of a half fallen tree
holding fast to dreams.
Should I say this to be
the second burning brazier?
Every love is the first love
with its own secret chalice.
The bird of ether
that can cure all my wounds
with her magic of soothing balm
visited my dreams.
After so many ages past
she came back to me
with her ethereal body.
I couldn’t touch her, 
I shouldn't have done so.
I only chant this prayer:
Get up well and be happy.


Memory, a bird of silence
moves towards the blue horizon.
Leaves rustle and tearful seeds
burst into life. 
Horses of earth
graze on the celestial pastures. 
You promised to return one morning
by the obeisant paddy.
The evening settles down
on the tree-tops of Garhjungle.
The fort of Ichhai withered and cold,
by the golden sands of the river Ajoy
recounts the weeping tales 
of Mother Shyamarupa.
Come, my dear bird, 
come back again 
to this land of rains 
and dark seeds
to soothe the loving soul…


Ichhai: A character in Dharma Mangal was a worshiper of the Goddess Durga as Mother Shyamarupa.

Ishpa: A goddess of the Toto tribe, settled in the Totopara, near Madarihat of the district of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India
Ramprosad:  A great Shakti poet of Bengal of the medieval times. 

About Rudra Kinshuk

A bilingual poet, translator and critic, Rudra Kinshuk has contributed poems, translations and criticism to different journals and books including The Statesman, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, Famous Reporter, Studio, New England Review and the Little Magazine. His poems have been anthologized in a number of volumes. His books of poetry include Footprints on the Sands (1996) Portrait of a Dog as Buddha (1998), Marginal Tales of the Galloping Horses (2002), Rocks (Cooperative Poems, 2009), Meditations on Matricide (2012) and Fragrant Anchors (2013). He has to his credit two books of Santal folk songs trans-created into English Songs of the Wild Birds (1997) and Santal Marriage Songs (1999). He has also translated several contemporary Bengali poets into English and several contemporary major Greek poets including Seferis, Ritsos and Vlavionos into Bengali. He has been awarded a Junior Fellowship in the field of Literature (1997-1999) by the Department of Culture (M.H.R.D), New Delhi for his research project on Santal Folk literature. He has also been awarded the Kabita Pakshik Samman (2000) for his contribution to new poetry. He has written his PhD thesis on Contemporary Subaltern Fictions. His areas of interest include postcolonial theory and literature, contemporary Greek poetry, contemporary Bengali poetry, Indian folk literature and translation.

Books by Rudra Kinshuk
Poetry in English
1. Footprints on the Sands 1996
2. Portrait of a Dog as Buddha 1998
3. Marginal Tales of the Galloping Horses 2002
4. Rocks: Collaborative Poems 2009
5. Meditations on Matricide 2012
6. Fragrant Anchors 2013

Translation into English

1. Songs of the Wild Birds 1997
2. Santal marriage songs 1998
3. Selected Poems: Prabhat Choudhury 2005
4. Selected Poems: Rafique Ul Islam 2009
5. The Journey Infinite: Selected Poems of Lakshmikanta Kar 2013

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