Hand lent by Dhiraj Singh
  Jungle story  

  Vol I : issue 1

  Noam Chomsky
  Amartya Sen
  Ashis Nandy
  Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Raj Kamal Jha
  Martha Nussbaum

  Krishna Sobti
  Ramakanta Rath
  Mrinal Pande
  Antara Dev Sen
  Only in Print

Subscribe to The Little Magazine
Order the print edition of this issue
Browse our bookstore
Browse back issues

   Mail this page link
   Enter recipient's e-mail:

Nabaneeta Dev Sen

my exile is over, mother,

no more living in the jungle for me

come, mother, underneath this matted beard

feel the familiar cheeks of your child

open up your breasts, mother, and watch how

the seven streams of milk

gush towards my parched tongue

look at these feet, mother, the tiny feet

where your golden bells had jingled

look at this arm upon which you had tied your talisman

when I was born

now look at this chest where you had planted

the sapling of a heart

in a soft green stretch of sun

in the hidden mesh of this dark jungle, impenetrable,

has grown a hungry tree…

with toothy leaves and sharp claws and fierce flowers

it chews on other hearts

a fine flesh-eater

my time in the jungle is over, mother,

now the jungle lives in me.





Memories of a floral clock

standing still by the nameless road

I hear the violence of rain

beating on the panes

going dark

switching off the engine is not switching off memory

your eyes

the floral clock

survive the rain

and your tongue

the unseen pendulum

keeps ticking away

deep inside me

telling time

under the soil


fourteen sticks to my hair like a blob of chewing gum

adolescence in my palms

moonwax trickling over my brow

sum total: zero

dream upon dream

sum total: zero

like adding dew to the wind…

this green mantle

inside my eyes filling my eyes covering my eyes

spread out on the dust

this green mantle

step on it for a moment

won’t you

should I call it love

should I call it longing

inside my head these dark forests

in my heart these sixty miles of empty highway


jamming my jaws, rocks

choking my throat, sand dunes

roaring inside my head, cascades

within my eyes filling my eyes overflowing my eyes

the moon

stars at my fingertips

adolescence in my palms

five rivers gushing out between the fingers of my clenched fist

the tears of the teens melt into the air




Nabaneeta Dev Sen is a much-loved poet and writer in Bengali. A recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award and the Padmashree, she is Professor of Comp. Lit. at Jadavpur University, Calcutta