After a hundred years, Mr. Eliot!
The myopic glasses couldn’t recognise Hale.
The church bells tolled aloud.
He forgot to remember her, or
remembered to forget the war,
The ballad of sad waste time had been sung.
After a hundred years, Eliot meets Hale
in a bundle of marauding mails. Her face,
a lightning bolt, flashes upon his eyes.
Ashes cling to her curls like lilacs on the Tyne.
Lavender clots on the archival pages shriek,
Greetings echo the clutter of Malabar rain.
Words whirl, flutter and fall dead
in ink-deep lines of preserved pain—
Stretching before and after,
Like a test report
Confirming malignancy in a lump of flesh
The butt ends of all promises shimmer
like cigarettes destined to be crushed
by the shining boots in an evening party.
It leaves you tipsy till the dawn.
Sweeney keeps the fog lights on,
The storm dishevels his crème-set hair
The dust spoils his clean shaven look
After hundred years, Mr. Eliot, what forgiveness?
This poem is written with reference to the information provided in an article published in The Guardian in January, 2020 (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/02/ts-eliot-hidden-love-letters-reveal-intense-heartbreaking-affair-emily-hale). The poem re-views T.S. Eliot’s relationship with Emily Hale, the Harvard scholar.
The night sleeps alone.
My thoughts stare at the empty roads,
like a man locked up in the Peace Haven:
His limbs and arms, all stiff!
Like a stale fish in a tub of ice,
I gaze at the market buzz
with the fury of its unblinking eyes
Deaf to wailings and fuming sighs,
I walk into a delirious pub
on the day of my beloved’s wedding,
To write a thesis on memory and forgetting.
I walk through the wilderness
of known faces,
Leading to the emptiness
of half-forgotten love,
On the virtual screen,
Loneliness settles like a speck of dust
on a broken arm-chair
Engraved with floral designs,
Ennui engulfs the yellow river of traffic
Noisily flows the car’s EMI
In smoky eyes,
with 4G speed, 160 kilometers on Skype,
We drive all night
Through the social networking sites.
I haven’t been to the sea before,
You haven’t seen the orange waves.
Holding our iPhones tight,
we ride the white mare in blue light
It gallops along the foamy sunset.
A flamingo walks by…
Bracing the eyeless shores of the internet,
we crawl through the tunnel of screen time,
Clicking hugs, posting kisses,
Making love to the shadow-selves—
In the glittering rooms of Cupid colour Apps.
To My Mentor, HL Sir
You stand tall
You stand straight
A Himalayan peak
On blooming minds
With a shady smile,
In the summer of life.
Over the years,
I see you bending high
With a warrior’s sigh
Filling up empty pitchers—
Some partially broken,
Some in bright colours—
With the wisdom to strive
In the sea of life.
There’s no fear when you are near
I hold your hand,
The storm subsides.
Together we sail
On the turbulent waves
Through the howling wind
Across the horizon of night—
To the stars and beyond
In the sparkle of life…
About the Author
Shyamasri Maji is an Assistant Professor in English at Durgapur Women’s College, West Bengal. She writes short stories and poems in English, some of which have been published in Muse India (“The Nettle Leaves”), Six Seasons Review (“Maya’s Apartment”), Story Mirror (“The Birthday Party”), Setu (“Skin Poems”), Kolkata Fusion, Café Dissensus, Indian Periodical, Borderless, The Chakkar and Teesta Review.