Featured Writer Sonnet Mondal: Four Poems

Answer Maa

The day you hid the door of afterlife —
Earth, flames and ashes
the apprehensions
allying illusion and reality.

I still sense your presence
around that door
but a sound from this opening
seems like an echo in the wilderness —

warning as well as bewitching me
to reveal myself to the untraveled.

Still for my senses,
like a deserted impala calf —
I am hurling questions and calls
to the woods     drowsy in meditation.

Maa, I know you won’t answer.
I am therefore     standing

soaking myself
trying to find answers
in the undertone     of this rain
falling     on the tin house.

In a skirmish with anxiety
I am awake — waiting
to meet sleep in person

[if she has heard you somewhere.]

Answer Maa

Or what’s the purpose of
perpetuating the thirst of my eyes

Tears are digging deep inside

a canyon of remembrances
is getting drilled

Answer Maa


Still intact

That day     when I heard the sound—

of swallowing my saliva
sitting in front of a pond

I discerned the vibrations
resonating the strings of my breath.

Ripplets from insects
falling in the waters    disappeared

.   like the prevailing silence lost in serenity
.   like the lost sound of saliva
.   descending from tongue to neck.

With too many questions      to be answered
the need to inquire                got lost

and I was left       with thoughts of the sky

beneath which      I was born
the roads which    I walked

and the nakedness
that still keeps me intact.


from Tushar’s Apartment [Malabar Hills, Mumbai]

A stable flute is pushing me

and a drunken gale is retaliating.

My life drifts     like a stranded kite
between the melodious and the mysterious.

Nature gazes like a winsome stranger
strolling     dancing     jumping
like the Bauls of Bengal.

Chirrups of mystic birds
ride on the chariot of the sea
pulled to the shore by its horses.

Thoughts     in an intercourse
with naked waves
scream of a world lost in lust.

Hypnotism of the inconclusive
charms me into the grey
of pregnant clouds and pensive waves.

In front of paradoxical nature-sounds
.                I realise
My mind is heavier than my soul.
.   What seemed impossible
.        was always possible.

Dear Nature — I am thinking
if to marry you
or, keep you as an escort!


Snapshots of a Dying Soldier


A loath combat helmet     lying over a weary head
and an ever vigilant gun     pregnant with bullets
lean against each other in a moot discipline
A mixture of the absurd and the fantastic


Eyes fixed on a rising dawn     with the Sun at heart
absorb the drowsy silhouettes and weeping clouds.
They blink like Mimosa pudicas     as thoughts perish
on the border line of infused patriotism


Shroud of smokes     follow far flung air strikes
and the cloud above roars     to obliterate screaming pleas
A tired imagination rises     and falls like musical notes
on the strings of realism boxed inside solitude


A faithless hand burns a cigarette     and pelts stones
at a nearby ditch     frowning toward the obvious.
A pair of embattled lips murmurs childhood songs.
An ominous twister forming from wandering smokes.


The head lies flat     with dreaming eyes fixed at dawn.
The gun awaits its next partner     and the helmet escapes.
The feeble ditch     almost dry     refuses to lend water
and the seeping blood refuses     to lend it either.


A family in its infancy     plays at home     uninformed.
Reasons scratch against broken walls     to find ways
of banishing the magical gun     from the pop culture of war.
Mirages of hope smile amidst scattered sands of anguish.


-Sonnet Mondal

Maa – Mother
Bauls- Mystic singers in Eastern India
Mumbai- City in India

These four previously unpublished poems by Sonnet Mondal were written in English and, as such, are untranslated.


Sonnet Mondal photo credit John Minihan

Sonnet Mondal. photograph by John Minihan (2017).

Sonnet Mondal is an Indian English poet, editor and literary curator. His latest collection of poems, Ink and Line, was released in 2014. Sonnet has read at literary festivals in Macedonia, Ireland, Turkey, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, and in many festivals throughout India. He received the 2016 Gayatri Gamarsh Memorial award for literary excellence for an Indian English author whose work has appeared in major North American publications. Sonnet was one of the authors of Silk Routes project from the International Writing Program at University of Iowa from 2014 to 2016. He is one of the current directors of Odisha Art & Literature Festival, an editor of the Indian section of Lyrikline Poetry Archive (Haus für Poesie), and the series editor of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review. He was a guest editor of Poetry at Sangam, India in 2017. His poems have appeared in Kyoto journal, Irish Examiner, the World Literature Today, the Mcneese Review, Blesok, Palestine Chronicle, Drunken Boat, Indian Literature, Asia Literary Review, Fieldstone Review, and Two Thirds North. He is currently a Writer in Residence at the Sierra Nevada College as part of their MFA in Creative Writing. Sonnet represented India at the 10th anniversary of the International Istanbul Poetry and Literature Festival. He conducted poetry workshops at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, Sri Lanka in January 2018 and acts as a curator for Dutch poets travelling to India on behalf of The Dutch Foundation for Literature. His poetry has been translated into Hindi, Italian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovakian, Turkish, Macedonian, Bengali, and Arabic. website: www.sonnetmondal.com





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About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, photographer, cultural journalist, and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review (RSR). Zalehah regularly contributes articles and interviews on poetry, art, film, and new media for RSR and the UTS magazine, Vertigo. Zalehah’s poetry was projected onto the Federation Square Wall in Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals, 2008 and 2009; exhibited at Mark and Remark ,107 Projects, Redfern in 2013; and displayed in Alice Springs and Moruya thanks to Australian Poetry Café poets, Laurie May and Janette Dadd respectively. Her poems have been published in Writing Laboratory (2013), Sotto (2013), Social Alternatives (2016), Vertigo (2016, 2017), UTS’s The Empathy Poems Project (2017) and Rochford Street Review (2017). She co-judged the New Shoots Poetry Prizes 2016 alongside, Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company, and published the winning and highly commended poems. Zalehah is currently working on an intermedia poetry collection entitled, 'Critical condition', focused on the interstitial threshold between life and death in medical crises based on personal experience. Zalehah holds a BA in Communication with a major in writing and cultural studies from the University of Technology, Sydney where she continues to pursue pushing the boundaries of multimedia poetry in Honours (Communication- Creative Writing).

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