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Waterworld and other poems by Arnab Bhattacharya


The fish,

Wandering about in the bluest depths

Of Earth, in wet heavens,

Unaware of the inevitable

End of the earth,

Arising out of furnaces,

Coloured in coal and petrol.

The fish,

Perhaps breathing its last,

Before the last drops of water are

Snatched away, or

Infused with glossy oil,

A painting on a blue canvas,

Foretelling death, before

Blue turns red,

The fish writhing in pain,

Looks at me,

As I breathe gasoline,

And we bid goodbye,

To each other.


Sweetest sounds of violence,

Its beats, a flowing verbal melody

Its ebb and flow, menacing

As always, painful, as it should be,

For whom you ask?

For those tall figures

Who forbid poetry in the dry lips

Of their servants,

What shall they sing then?

Verses with their hands, machetes, guns,

Paintings in red, sculptures in flesh,

Choirs sung by the last breaths

In City halls and parliaments,

Who remembers these hymns of love?

The streets, like a slaughterhouse,

Of day when violence performed,

Like a bard who carried the sickle.


Like rats in a mill,

Little heavy feet crossing streets,

Little light on their faces,

So little to care as they greet,

Almost like metal gear,

Working in tandem,

A labourer towards his work,

But none looks at their ordeal,

That they break their bones,

But cannot buy a house,

Where will their children play?

In schools and grounds,

Or in soot-covered workshops?

One denied of their childhood,

While the father lost his too,

And yet he works for

Health and quiet merriment,

Perhaps holding onto a dream,

That in avenues of great monuments,

His family shall once live too.


Arnab Bhattacharya works as a researcher in the field of sustainable development and political economy of decarbonisation in Milan, Italy. In addition to his research work, he has a passion for reading and writing about class and caste issues. Arnab's poetry is characterized by its unreservedly coarse style, incorporating social realism and class struggle.

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