Poems By Swapna Sanchita

The Falling of the Flowers

The flowers fall,
For no reason at all
Off the stalks, the branches, the tree.
And I see them strewn
On the grass, yellow on green
On the concrete, yellow on grey.
The flowers fall,
Their falling should mean something
It doesn’t.

A Conceit- Washing Line

Am stretched out between two trees

Out in the backyard, just a string

Where the people who walk in

Through the front doors cannot see

The tightly strung, strong, tied me up

And someone will lay out the clothes to dry
Heavy wet sheets, that they drape over me

And before the weight becomes almost too much

These garments that I hold up

So that they may soak up the sunlight

Grow lighter, and flutter in the breeze

No water left inside bearing them down
It is then that I am left free, still strung
Except that I start to sag all the time

Tired out from the daily burden of
Wet clothes needing me to hold them up

And when they can no longer tighten me
By retying my ends around the two trees
They will let me go, cast aside in the corner

Of the same backyard, frayed, forlorn.


Swapna Sanchita is a poet, a storyteller, and an educator. Her collection of poems, Des Vu was well received upon publication. She has contributed to a number of anthologies and journals. Swapna lives in Ranchi, India with her husband and two sons. 

Poem By Sonali Chanda

Illustration by Subarnarekha Pal

FINEST JOKE!

May be they’re lying to behold the hue, of those fresh bosoms, like strangers or like some unworthy overlooked trashes; may be I’m like them; waiting thirsty, alike them overlooked, someday, I’d touch the first sunray.

I’ve swallowed the hues of maternal love; I’ve been in sandy shores, waiting for blue waves; to have a fresh bath or to be washed away; or maybe it’s the time to be under the feet of an unknown traveller, alike some useless thorns or mosses.
I did weave a dream to get a corner some day; an eclipse of false hope showed me a little piece of hope, it’s not at all the corner but a barb wire which I found; though I’ve adorned it with the apron of roses.

What’s truth, what is the falsehood; now it’s all equally rejected; I’ve bejeweled in silence, watched each joke.
Suppose it’d be a truthful promise; not to be broken; legitimate and loyal;
  I didn’t ever get the rightness of the promise, which claimed as a deadly pledge.

Overlooked mosses shouldn’t dream of permanent corner, you know;
they’re the most trivial being in this vast world,
If they receive a life of little span; they’re blessed by anyhow or count their days.
A promise is a fine joke to the tiny moss life,
  It’s quite uncertain how many days it’d survive.

Sonali Chanda completed her Post Graduation from Burdwan University in English Literature and Language,
Recently She was honoured by NISSIM INTERNATIONAL AWARD 2022 for her Travelogue LADAKH: Enroute TIBETAN TABOOS.

Two Poems by James Croal Jackson

ABBATOIR

I worked in the slaughterhouse. I fed cows
but wanted to feed more the mouths of bulls.
Commuted through tunnels in morning rush. Threaded
needle between lanes. Sunlight’s golden mustard
fired me up to free caged meat. Can’t believe I hadn’t
seen the fire inside. The rust on my city’s hinges. Land of bridges.
I cannot identify what kind of animal I will become.

WOLF IN THE GARDEN

Wolf in the garden, feast on tomatoes,
rabbits, organs in your teeth. This
haze in my throat a belonging
fog I can’t cough out. I want
to reach for ruddy crescent
mud moon to hang on the wall
of forthcoming transformation.
You appeared rain and branches,
strutted into town with horsehide
in your mouth– a grave to majesties,
a purple-mountained pride.

Two Poems By Basab Mondal

JINXED

The night caves in
in the secluded penumbra of the city.
The moll readies herself.

The final touches
of colour, on her lips
darken.
The quietness within deepens.
The fetus of hope, nestled with care extends its hand
to grab
the unending vacuity,
within the dark sanctum.

ABSENTIA

The balcony
that houses my body,every night
knows,how my soul
embraces vacuity
with umpteen satiation.
Like a blown out candle
my heart, still
lets out a hissing smoke.
I close my eyes
a light engulfs me to say
‘the snake and ladder game
is still on’.
I die every night, muttering
‘e tu absentia…..’.

Basab  Mondal, is a bilingual  poet and columnist from Kolkata. He writes  in English  as well  as Bengali.  His poems ,stories  and  translations  have appeared  in several  anthologies  and literary magazines. He writes  to gratify his own inner self  and  the world around him serves as the cue.

“The Best Plan is No Plan”: A Cauldronful of Love, Politics and Friendship in David Yates’s The Secrets of Dumbledore

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore' review: Less of magic, more  about greed and lost love - Entertainment News

At the end of Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, Emma Watson speaks of how  Harry Potter represents the power of storytelling and encompasses everything that is safe, good and kind. For the generation that grew up with Harry Potter, and for many more succeeding generations, this is certainly true. Perhaps this is why spin offs like Fantastic Beasts prove so successful with the audience even though the Fantastic Beasts franchise, according to many a critic, lacks the original magic of the series. But what it lacks in magic the franchise makes up in nostalgia and grandiosity: the cinematic universe of Fantastic Beasts, from the very first film, is opulent and darkly lavish. We left The Crimes of Grindelwald at the crucial juncture of Credence finding out his identity as a Dumbledore from Grindelwald and the phoenix soaring across the sky to land on his arm. The Secrets of Dumbledore begins where the events of The Crimes of Grindelwald ended: we meet Grindelwald and Dumbledore chatting in a muggle coffee shop with Grindelwald warning Dumbledore to stay out of his way.

     The Secrets of Dumbledore opens with the theme of love: lingering stares, nostalgic memories shared, passions simmering beneath the surface between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. But this love is not pure or uncomplicated: it is a love born out of twisted ideas and wrapped ideals. Grindelwald will not let Dumbledore forget that their association led to the birth of his vision for a muggle free world and to reinforce that knowledge, there is the blood pact, a cruel talisman that Dumbledore carries around his hand. Jude Law playing Dumbledore and Mads Mikkelsen playing Grindelwald are excellent actors who make the emotions in their scenes together go up a notch and bring out the complexities of their relationship beautifully. When Theseus, Newt’s brother, asks Dumbledore what possessed him to make a blood pact with Grindelwald, Dumbledore’s answer is that it can be any one of the poisons of love, naivety or friendship. The Secrets of Dumbledore as a film navigates this beautiful yet poisonous terrain of friendship and love coupled with politics: the film’s background is the rise of political Fascism in Europe.

     Newt Scamander is adorable as usual in his bumbling, awkward way but in this film Newt does not enjoy center stage. There are a host of other characters who share screen space: there is the resourceful Professor Lally Hicks, the mysterious Yusuf Kama, the ever entertaining Jackob Kowalski, the lovesick Bunty (Newt’s assistant who nurtures a soft spot for Newt). All of these characters are at their core kind and good who remain committed to foiling Grindelwald’s plan of taking over the world and oppressing the non-magic people.  But their plan, as Newt says, is to have no plan. And it is here that the film falters a little: trying to tie too many threads together, walking the tightrope of love and politics makes Yates’s universe a bit tedious and scattered. Add to that the lack of a proper plan on the part of the characters to defeat Grindelwald ( which translates to the lack of a proper plot for the film) and The Secrets of Dumbledore does run the danger of driving away its loyal audiences. But what saves the film and the franchise is the echoing beauty of Rowling’s writing: every time Jacob cracks a joke, laughs hysterically or cracks us up, we see the hand of a master storyteller at play. The scenes between Lally and Jacob are beautiful, an ode to friendship that can be brave and courageous in the worst of times.

     We have to agree with Lally when she says that Jacob is essential to defeating Grindelwald because he is a man who ‘won’t duck behind the counter’ when he sees a wrong deed taking place. Jacob is the heart of this film: funny, rambling yet essentially a kind and generous man who is madly in love with his old sweetheart, Queenie. The ageing Dumbledore told us in Harry Potter that love is the purest and oldest form of magic: it can withstand the greatest evil. In The Secrets of Dumbledore a young Dumbledore proves this again and again: he reminds his brother of his love for his son and how that love needs to be claimed. He is himself tortured by his love for Grindelwald but refuses to let that love manipulate his intentions or motivations.  Interspersed with love in the film is politics: the two rarely mix well and in this film they mingle to create a simmering cauldron of fearsome terrains. The film takes us on a tour of 1930s Europe where we are met with increasing cries of support for Grindelwald and a continent that is fast surrendering to ‘what is easy’ and not fighting for ‘what is right’. Fascist politics rarely follows any rationale and this is what we witness in The Secrets of Dumbledore: Grindelwald woos the crowds with his rhetoric of anti-muggle speeches and nobody questions as to how a muggle free world is going to be better or in what way are muggles a threat to wizards.

     Rowling understands the power of speeches, rhetoric, politics of purity and hate all too well. We see how Lally, Newt and Jacob are overpowered by the overwhelming support for Grindelwald in the German Ministry of Magic. We feel for Jacob as he watches Queenie walk past him  to execute Grindelwald’s twisted orders. We weep with Dumbledore for the helpless Credence and the cruel way he has been manipulated by Grindelwald. Friendships and love need to be cherished; otherwise they can fester and kill. Credence symbolizes this all too beautifully: abandoned at birth by Aberforth (Dumbledore’s brother), hungry to belong, lonely and abused, Credence becomes an obscurious, suppressing his magic and identity which bursts out of him in stressful moments and can be threatening for him and others around him. Grindelwald feeds Credence’s resentment, his hate as all fascists do; he misuses Credence’s power and lures him into the dark world of his politics. It is to Credence’s credit that he recognizes Grindelwald for what he is and thwarts his plans at the end.

     At the end, The Secrets of Dumbledore take us to Bhutan, a magically beautiful mountainous country where the election for the new Minister for Magic is to take place. Grindelwald has a clever plan of his own which Newt and his gang need to thwart to prevent a disaster. Both Newt and Grindelwald have a vitally important creature, a quillin, who has the power to choose a worthy leader. Credence stands up to Grindelwald and reveals the true nature of his creature and thus ultimately does the right thing. The film concludes with Grindelwald fleeing the scene and then we jump to the wedding day of Jacob and Queenie (who also ultimately sees the evil Grindelwald for what he is). The concluding scene is a hot bath in a warm cauldron of the central emotion in the film, love. Jacob and Queenie, Tina and Newt make us grateful for the existence of love even in the darkest of times. The Secrets of Dumbledore is not a masterfully crafted film; it is not even a very good film perhaps. But it is an entertaining and a love filled film that reminds us of the magic of a wonderful world, and that resonates with the message: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light”.    

 

 

Somrita Misra is Assistant Professor in the Department of English in Chanchal College, Malda, West Bengal. She is a Potterhead, a researcher in children’s literature and a thorough bibliophile.