Poetry In Our Time


We are presenting three important poets in this issue. Habeeb Al-Samir is an important poet from Iraq. He writes in Arabic language. His Poetry has been translated in several international languages. His poetry gives the touch of Arabic culture. These poems are translated in to English. Maitreyee B Chowdhury is an English language poet/  writer, her poems are written in  English. Kumar Mukul is a Hindi poet, writer; his poems have been translated in to English.



Habeeb Al-Samir ( Iraq)


The Friends


Once I touched my fingers

And started counting them

A pertinent opportunity to count my friends

One of them Kept repeating more than once

While counting

And I repeat the counting

And he was repeated

Why are you more than one

On the tips of my fingers?

The dream dries

And the pouring rain on fingers’ fronts

Washes one friend.

Translated by: Dr Kadhim Al-Ali


The First Dance

Who ordered the fingers to hold to the tornado?

Or the glasses to timidly make her lose her face

Who replaced the face which is rooted in the shadow

With shreds of details and clots of light

As if they are images piling in the dark.

sea? the lips to open for the sweetness of words

In the midst of the clamour,

To obliterate the origin of absence

While the cloud is settled down in a place,

Attracted to a predestined dream

The fingers are like sensors

The fingers are invisible figures in the kingdom of moments

As if they are crawling toward the maps

They step to draw a lady’s figure surrounding herself with hands

As the fingers move in the dark to endow the light

Or to dictate the wind to pure what is left of the exhalation

In the room with its paint being shed on the marble

Our shadows were teased in a dance

The rhythm was escalated

Both bodies swayed, grappled

Her lips reached to my ears

Be kind to me, novice dancer

Tonight I am in your arms

Take me to your verdant forest

Where the grass is the God’s outstretched carpet

From one adoration to another,

Be kind to me while you surround every pore of me

Tonight’s dance is what’s left from our life

Don’t let your rhythm slow down

It’s indeed escalating

The pulse is increasing,

The desire is proliferating while you catch the air

You beside me, the dark is intensifying

And my body is swaying

Your respiring is passionate

And your perfume is the craziness of life

Contain me with a final kiss

Here I am withering in your arms

It is me who ordered the fingers to seize the shadow

And the glasses to spatter our features

In unrepeatable darkness

While our dance has just started

Translated by Miaad Hassan


It Looks Like


It looks like you

Do not know


To revolve


Around yourself.

The more you

Tried to


Your hand

To catch

The rose

Of love sufferer

The more you


Your hand




How often you

Long to

See your eyes


For a young women.

Disturbing water

By the stone

Of the beach.

* *


It looks like you

Do not know


To fly

A little bit higher

Than your stature.


You tried

To jump up

Above youself.

Your shadow

Catch you

* * **

It looks like you

Do not care

For the year

Of disappointment

And repeat

What you


Sometimes you

Identify yourself,


By darkness,

Dear the reckless

In debacles!

* * **

It looks like you

Wake up,


Gathering up

The remnant

Of the persistent

Day and

A green song

To give your heart

Little from

The book of light

And to

Look frequently

For you.

* * **

You look like to


Your travels.

The poems are

Coasts of ink,

Letters that

Swim toward you

And others sink


To the bottom.

* * **

It looks like you

Do not find

Enough space

To scream out.

None hears

The frequencies

Of  your  depression.

Then, you

Should mute

Your voice,

And wait

For your

Eternal scream.

Translated by Dr Hana Al-Bayyati


The Carob Husk

‏On the English cemetery fence,

‏the branches of carob join together

‏And on the way to Al-Rabat school,

‏students cram their bodies among the graves

‏The student who sneaked out of the first lesson,

‏steals his the first rose from the cemetery

‏The guard is alert

‏He sends a cry

‏The carob that is hanging in their white shirts

‏defines the impression of their chaos, lines painted on their tender bodies.

‏The time steals them,

‏while they enjoy picking flowers.

‏The night of the cemetery is intimidating

‏And they’re absent in the classroom

‏With his thick stick,

‏the teacher vows

‏The observer with big letters, writes the names of the absentees

‏The teacher begins the lesson,

‏The cemetery students are absent

‏The picture is being redisplayed

‏The marks of carob

‏The pointing carob thorns



‏Draws a picture of blood on their white shirts

‏The same familiar pathway

‏And in the brightness of dawn,

‏ the cemetery gets up

‏The guard rubes his eyes

‏We stepped quickly

‏The classroom is cold

‏The hallway is cold

‏The lesson is cold

‏The observer counts the students

‏The teacher’s stick

‏The guard’s cry

‏Our bodies are like a drum

‏Off carob tree,

‏the sticks were,

‏the thorns were,

‏tangled in our shirts

‏Was it the curse of cemetery upon us, so we ask for forgiveness?

‏As we grew up,

‏each morning we pass by

‏No flowers in the cemetery

‏No guard at the cemetery

‏Even the dead,

‏there is no flowers commiserate their solitary

‏No guards that waters the grown cactus on their graves

‏The students no longer cram their bodies over there

‏The fence has faded, the graves were wrenched

‏And the carob remained alone, embracing the shades of the cemetery.

 Translated by Miaad Hassan

Habeeb Al-Samir

Habib Al-Samir is a poet, editor and media person from Basra, Iraq. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in English Language. Habib Al-Samir is also a Member of the Writers Union in Iraq. His poems have been translated into several languages including English, Spanish, French, Serbian, Persian and Kurdish, and some of his books have been translated into French. He participated in Arab festivals and forums in Egypt, Lebanon, (Abu Dhabi), Syria, Tunisia, and other countries. Received numerous invitations from the Arab Maghreb countries and others.

The poet has released 11 literary books including Rain’s Fingers, 2012 and Soaring Without Wings / Critical Study in the Experience of Habib Al-Samar / by Critic Hamed Abdul Hussain Hamidi.


Maitreyee B Chowdhury (English- Bengal)



A termite mound snaps open-


like Gaudi’s chambers of faith,

a colony of Termites sleep.

Come the holy month of Shravan,

within a fungus comb

the Termytomyces spreads new wings,

start new colonies,

make fertile, old Savana habitats-

Through vertical transmission

and an ant’s past-

fifty million years of growing together,

both fungus and termites


feed, copulate, rest-

wild food they become,

on our plates-

the Bharnda Chatu


* Termitomyces is a species of fungus which has a symbiotic relationship with termites. In India, worship of anthills (considered fertile), is common especially amongst the plain tribes in Central India. Savana lands in Africa is considered the origin of the species.

* Bharnda Chatu, local name of Termitomyces in Odhisa


In the Shade of the Mahua


Five kilos of Mahua flowers,

and three litres of Mahua bottles later,

Sixty-five-year-old Rambati surveys her ‘Fulli’ –

the purest spirit of them all.

Her nostrils flared; pupils dilated-

Rambati walks at night,

when the sky is a bottle of ink.


It is time now,

for the moha cha aalimb

that grows in the shade of the Mahua flowers.

She sings to them as she plucks,

dusting first with the Uskai branches,

paying homage to the snakes that lie within-

while the scent of Mahua penetrates.


In the month of Shravan,

just after the rains,

Santeri the termite hill goddess awakes again-

every sanctum sanctorum here, a termite hill holds,

the Termitomyces bloom within,

and Kshetrapala gods they become.

Consort to the cult of Santeri,

Renuka and Yellamma-

rituals must precede the plucking.


Tillers of the earth,

Rambati becomes mother- goddess,

the Roen, a poem-

a divine cult.


* Fulli- A local brew

* Moha cha aalimbIn Maharashtra, mushrooms are collectively called aalimb. Mushrooms that grow in the soil bed of the Mahua tree are moha cha aalimb.

* Mahua is an Indian tropical tree. The local drink made from this tree (an intoxicant) is also called Mahua.



Becoming the Boda


Deep in the forests of Bastar,

when lightning strikes,

and the rains fall-

the flowers on the Sal disappear,

the Boda they become.


As the rains fell-

like Fungi I grew

past childhood,

and into a magical sixteen.


My thighs now fleshy,

harbinger of the witch’s blood,

into the sacred web of womanhood

I mushroomed-

grew in bulk,

and perished.


Under the Mahua,

both life and death are fragrant-

only the promise of magic,

and its remains, flower.

*Boda (scientific name: Astraeus hygrometricus), is a species of fungus found in the Bastar region of Chhattishgarh. The fungus has a symbiotic relationship with the decayed Sal tree leaves and earth.

Maitreyee B Chowdhury

Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a poet and writer. She has four books to her credit, The Hungryalists, One Dozen-Hasan Azizul Huq (Trans), Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Where Even The Present Is Ancient: Benaras. She is editor of The Bangalore Review, a literary journal. Maitreyee’s forthcoming work is centered around the eccentric genius poet Binoy Majumdar. Her interest areas are in mapping migration related stories from the North East of India, and ethnomycology.


Kumar Mukul (Hindi)

Translated by Shivam Tomar


The River and the Bridge

Even when the river runs dry,

a bridge remains a bridge.

A river of sand is still called

a river.

As long as this bridge exists,

the river perseveres,

awaiting the change in season.


Patches of Moonlight


As I gaze at the moon,

I find myself unable to determine whether

I am happy or sad. Frustrated by this uncertainty,

I approach a child standing nearby and inquire

about the moon’s whereabouts. Initially, the child

searches for his own shadow and then points to the sky.

He then gestures towards the illuminated patches

of moonlight on the ground,

leads me to the realisation that as we speak of the moon,

we essentially refer to things immersed in the moonlight.




Amongst so many playful memories

Where shall I place

This sharp diamond of your sadness.




Unveiling the moonlight’s mysteries,

Dawn emerges. Wake up,

with dew and dust on your feet,

embark on a journey. Witness

the world, though memories hold

night jasmine at its peak. It

may have grown weary from

its nightly vigils. Appreciate

and preserve its fragrant essence.

Wake up, while dogs sleep,

birds soar to new horizons.

Wake up and enter the dreams of children




The notion of change appears distant and superficial,

They seem unaffected by even the strongest fears.

They claim familiarity with the Gita’s teachings,

Yet remain willing to harm their own populace.

They possess a keen awareness of your helplessness,

they know when you feel like laughing, your only refuge

is the shield of sarcasm.


Kumar Mukul

Kumar Mukul, born in 1966, holds a Master’s degree in Political Science. He has had a versatile career spanning over three decades, starting as a faculty member at Amaan Women’s College in Patna in 1989. Later, he transitioned into journalism, holding various roles at Amar Ujala & Rajasthan Patrika.  Kumar has also published six collections of poetry, including “Hindustan ke 100 Kavi” and “Ved Vedang, kuchh Notes”.

Post a Comment