"Precious Breath" and "Confessions of a Silent Soldier"

Precious Breath

Dappled shadows mated with light
in obtuse street corners, where
exposed bricks blushed pink in
the golden glow of sodium vapour
lamps, highlighting a stained

guilty knowledge of the dozen unfed
sleeping just round the corner;
here the fair people don't venture
even by day.
                   In the night it's a dead-end.

Drip by Drip the air conditioners leak
onto their sides, their faces, their aching feet.

Into the silence of hunger and the roar of
automobiles, a single tiny drop of
gratitude falls unknown, unheard,
merging in the dust of the wry pavement.

'I got to live another day', says the young mother to herself in wonder!
Her toddler is by her side, asleep.
                      She whispers 'I am breathing.'

A motorcade roars by, unseeing eyes crushing the
night, a very important person on his way to some

Drip by Drip the water seeps into the pavement,
soaking them.

                     It was a cold night in Nov '17.



Confession of a Silent Soldier

There's a war on -
'Survival of the Impoverished'.
We, the soldiers have looked away
from the battlegrounds, because our
minds have been washed, our hearts
disengaged, our brains numbed by this
societal system that feeds the moneyed
and hides away all traces or rights of the poor...

It is our war &
               we have thrown down our arms  
                                            and looked away.

Oh, we have been trained to

                                          stare off!

Right from the beginning.
      Rolled bundles on streets,
         hungry outstretched hands,
           tearful children, destitute women with infants clinging,
             kids racing with magazines at traffic lights, upturned noses in classrooms
                 towards the underprivileged,
                   schools that wouldn't even dream of admitting less privileged ones, and summarily eject
                   them if a
                        good samaritan somehow got one in!

Yeah, like guests we arrive and depart,
from our own spaces that are falling apart,
awaiting the kiss of resurrection, that we are loathe to give. We are not a part.



Smeetha Bhoumik

Smeetha Bhoumik’s recent poetry features in literary journals like Life & Legends, Muse India, Neesah, Indian Review, and the anthologies  Writing Language, Culture and Development, Africa Vs Asia Volume 1 Anthology and Modern Indian Poetry. Her early poems are collected together in Thoughts Meander.

She is the Founder of Women Empowered-India (WE). WE has poetry at its heart and is a forum for gender equality, awakening the inherent sense of empowerment & justice in every person. She identifies as a staunch feminist, holding up the core values of feminism - equality, justice and compassion. 


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 22:32