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A Lament For Their Eyes

A Poem by:

Shimanta Bhattacharyya

Colourful Bar


Copyright shall at all times remain vested in the Author. No part of the work shall be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Author's express written consent.

They want to shut their eyes, they cannot

The red, lidless eyes gape like festering wounds

They are struck with a strange sickness

They are struck with the seeing sickness of the sky

The sky sees everything. The sky is one enormous eye

The sky never stops seeing. Seeing everything all at once

The eyes too can see everything. But only in patches

The sky sometimes weeps


The eyes do not weep, they cannot

The eyes have become clogged with excess salt

They cannot wash themselves clean like the sky

The eyes do not have the luxury of tears

The waters of the eyes have become locked in ice

Like subterranean cataracts in winter

The waters of the eyes have withered into a lake

A lake of frozen tears


The sun comes feeling for their eyes with pointed daggers

The moon comes feeling for their eyes with banderillas

The wind comes feeling for their eyes with grasping fingers

They cannot shut their eyes; they cannot shut their eyes

Last night they fished out a corpse from a pond

Its mouth was wide open. The eyes protruding like ping-pong balls

They say he cried a lot. Others say he died of seeing too much

Now he tastes death in his mouth and death stares through his eyes


The rain claws at the green skulls of violent memories

The air is moist with blood spewing from ransacked towns

A vulture slakes its thirst at fetid pools of submerged bones

In the distance clouds gather like poisonous mushrooms

The rice withdraws into the earth. A swathe of smoke

Covers the eyes of those who have come

To cremate their dead. Somewhere a girl tries to sing

But the song sticks in her throat like a knife


They want to shut their eyes, they cannot

They cannot shut their eyes in spite of the daggers

They cannot shut their eyes in spite of the knives

They cannot shut their eyes in spite of the guns

That seek out their pithless hearts with long fiery tongues

They are the fallen angels with wings like shards of electricity

They cannot shut their eyes, their eyes with their pierced dreams

Oh, if they shut their eyes the nightmares begin


Shimanta Bhattacharyya
Copyright © 2004

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