Into the Wide Blue Sea — Two Poems by Arnab Chakraborty

Sep 12, 2021

Arnab Chakraborty presents two poems fueled by two of the greatest themes in literature—death as dissolution and love as captivity—both of which are addressed in an original manner. The first poem—in its dialogical approach of referencing a great literary character—follows the allusive tradition of other such poems, like Agha Shahid Ali’s “The Wolf's Postscript to 'Little Red Riding Hood'”, Carol Ann Duffy’s “Medusa” or Nazim Hikmet’s “Don Quijote” to name a few. The second poem detaches the reader from any habituated meanings or notions of love by relying on the power of metaphor and imagery—and in doing so revitalizes such meanings or notions.

I

 I wonder did Gulliver,
Sleeping by the tiny beach at sea,
Feel the little ants clamber up his limbs
His feet, his thighs and his knee?

Did he feel tired under the sky,
Watching the clouds
As the little ants of his past
Searched and searched forever
For Gulliver’s hidden doubts?

Perhaps Gulliver was forever
Just asleep,
In a waking dream of a corpse
Slowly withering away
Under a mountain of ants
Who broke his body into sugar
Before dumping his soul
Back,
Into the wide blue sea.

II

Love can be heavy,
Thicker and more viscous than the metal
That moves like a sea.

It can languish like an anchor
Docking a thousand shadows on your shoulders,
Like the many branches
Of far too many trees.

It can take the shape of tired arms,
It can sing the carols of tired goodbyes;
It can be like a letter from a long dead friend
And it can hover like a swarm of flies,
Selflessly,
Sucking the rot of that letter away.

But Love is more than a healer,
A warrior,
Or a good feeling of a prime,

It’s the marksmanship of a poet,
And the prisoner of its time.

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About the Contributor

Arnab Chakraborty is currently a graduate researcher in Sociology at the University of Southern California in the US. His research interests span culture, religion, organizations, race, gender, social movements and politics. Before coming to the US, he had spent 5 years studying English Literature at Jadavpur University. While sociological research and activism remain his profession, creative writing has been his long-standing passion. He has a published book of poems from Writers Workshop in India and has a few published short stories in collections and webzines. Currently he is also working on a novel when he gets time off from his research and teaching.