Conquering your territories, I held my trident high
Terrain after terrain I paraded unopposed;
No battle confronted me, nor would sabotage
Take me by ugly surprises—I marched on
And could not stop, going deeper and deeper inland.
One by one the forts and citadels
Flew my flag and yet I did not stop
Exploring all your deeps and tips,
Unbeknownst even to your BIPS,
Till, through caverns measureless to man,
I reached a meadow of radiant glassy grass:
A crystal lake of frozen light
Of the hue and smell and taste of purest honey—
Of lickable, transparent, gold…
And I could not leave that realm of gold.
And I would not, even if I could.
We have a fish in our Bengali rivers
That looks, feels and smells
Exactly like Barramundi.
And, when curried, you’ll struggle
To keep the cutlets intact
Like you do with Barramundi.
They are so same-same we
Oftentimes call Barramundi Bhetki—
But there is one difference
That no Aussie would notice
And every Bengali would:
Barramundi responds differently
To our spices.
In fact it doesn’t respond to them at all.
No matter how spicy the curry
The fish remains as bland
As any other Australian fish—
Any other Australian…
Le Cantique des Cantiques
My shadow and I sat
On a something that
Floated on her mind.
We, cautious, held on tight
Till the moon was bright
And the weather fine.
And, oh, she watched us both
In her boiling broth,
And brighter grew the moon,
Lighter our pontoon;
Pond-scum and algae
Soared higher than ourselves,
In their neolithic shelves
We were fossilized.
And Virgin Mary dined
Tentative and blind:—
A Nietzsche and a Christ.
About the Poet
Subrata Augustine Gomes was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1965. He attended St Gregory High School, Notre Dame College and finally Dhaka University and completed his Master of Arts in English there. His writings have started appearing in journals and little magazines since the mid-eighties. He has got 16 books published, noted amongh them being: Antauri (translation of the Charyapadas, 1989), Tanumadhya (poems, 1990), Kalketu o Phullara (novel, 2002), Pulipolao (poems, 2003) Matrimurti Cathedral (short-stories, 2004), Kabita Sangraha (poems, 2006), Jhalia (poems, 2009), Morning Glory (poems, 2010), Kabita Down Under (translation of selected Australian poems, with Ankur Saha and Shoumyo Dasgupta, 2010), Swarnadweepita (translation of poems from around the world, 2011), Amake Dharan Karo Agnipuchchha Megh (poems, 2012). Subrata has lived in Sydney since 1995 and he works for an IT distribution company.