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  A poem for the iron falcon  

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  Joy Goswami
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Joy Goswami

But this won’t shake me out of slumber, dear iron falcon,

howsoever much you try

To drill in your beak, into my skull

howsoever much

you perch on both my shoulders, one foot on each, and the

talons sticking out of them

But that won’t stop me from dreaming, dear iron falcon, my

Eyes are not within your reach, you have power over my fingers

my ribcage

And my spine, you control the way

I sit, stand, blow my nose and hiccup, you have power

Over my pillows, big and small, and my pots and pans

My clothes, doors and windows, my drums and bells

You have power over my private orchestra, and yet

My mind has gone away, drop exceeding drop, it has

Taken on the speed of light, there’s nothing much you can

do about it dear iron

Falcon… howsoever much… you try

To drill in your beak into my skull, the matter inside

will never melt

Dense, black and steaming hot

Your lips will fail, they’ll bend and twist, dear iron falcon,

with your

Thousand contraptions clanging inside you, and a thousand

television sets crashing

A thousand aircraft groaning as they take off and land

a collision, compensations

Joining hands, murders and planting spies, but

there’s nothing much

they can do about this, those spies, raw and seasoned, those spies

Wearing a child’s face, dear iron falcon, right here…

Drawing in mixed media by Gautam Kar

With this ocean of flames in front of me, and its fiery droplets rising

through the haze, the sun

Floating away, it drops like a dead star, and

This vast ocean, made up of many-hued suns

And me slipping out through a gap, somewhere, coming

out into the open

Through the other end

To find an enormous heart, right there before me

with all its life, throbbing…

My eyes go down into it like a flying machine

Shooting messages

Shooting messages from far away

From the farthest places

From my previous life

In the meantime, you may do as you wish with this body of mine

dear iron falcon

I can’t be bothered any more…

Translated from the Bengali by Chitralekha Basu


Joy Goswami grew up in rural Bengal, never went to college, works as an editor and is
one of the most powerful poets writing in Bengali today. His honours include the
National Sahitya Akademi Award. He lives in Calcutta