Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Poems by Anita Agnihotri

Nov 26, 2021 | Poetry | 0 comments

Plain-Clothes Cop

The breeze, a plain-clothes cop;
it always picks up my scent
no matter where I am,
seizes and hauls me into the lockup,
where in that dark dungeon crouches
many, many more breezes in olive uniform.

In silence they would pounce on my body
I would lose consciousness screaming
I don’t know, don’t know, I know nothing!

Laughing itself hoarse
the breeze shall dump me at the mouth of the alley.

Next morning
before the garbage truck arrives
you would come running disheveled-
What a pity! Who has killed our pet white cat!


Smoke of Burning Leaves

On winter mornings you relished setting the leaves on fire;
dear husband mine,
my sooty kitchen would fill up with smoke,
the scream of the burning leaves would rend my mornings…

You know very well how days come to an end for a leaf –
once as bright as sunshine,
yellow the next day, and then one day
falling off and drifting with the wind

Yet you never spared a single leaf.
You hunted them all from their hiding, one by one
and set them on fire.
Dear gardener mine, did this serve you right!

And this is why our bond broke off.
I failed to reconciliate
the warmth of the nocturn blanket
with the morning smoke of the burning leaves.
So, here I leave

A leaf once fallen, never goes back to the tree.
I know, nevertheless…

At The Antonymwe believe that writing is an important tool for women to voice their experiences of identity, sexuality, marriage, love, family, and life. Our magazine is taking a measured look at the Bengali women who have contributed to contemporary Bengali literature. They are all borne out of different life experiences and have created a distinct storytelling style that not only differentiates them from men writers but also from women. Their distinct approaches have made us believe that we could bring a new focus on Bengali women writers and explore and expand our scope in the form of translating their contributions to Bengali literature. To read about the different Bengali women writers that we have translated, please visit the following page of The Antonym magazine:

Feminine Pen: Translating Bengali Women Writers

Anita Agnihotri’s literary oeuvre spans across all genres- poetry, novels, writing for children, and critiques of development; but short story is the genre that stimulates her creative vein the most. She has authored over 30 volumes by now and has received several awards, including the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad felicitation, the Sarat Puraskar, Pratibha Basu Sahitya Puraskar, and the Bhuban Mohini Dasi Gold Medal by the University of Calcutta. She also served in the Indian Administrative Service.

Moulinath Goswami is a Bengali poet who also does translation of Bengali and English poems. He has one collection of poetry named ‘Dayal’. He is a regular contributor to various literary periodicals


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