In the storm’s eye

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata silhoutted against dark clouds (left); A street in North Kolkata went under flood waters.


The rumble of the wind,

The ominous tune it plays on roof tins.


The darkening of the sky,

The swift embrace of clouds on the sly.


The pounding of the hearts,

The rain’s sharp descent, its pointed darts.


This whooshing wind, this eerie sky,

This unyielding torrent in the storm’s eye,

Is a sign,

Is a sign,

Is a sign.


Death and destruction looms everywhere.

The mightiest of trees from their roots tear.

Yellow taxis are sinking in the flood.

Victoria Memorial is greying in the scud.

The people of Bengal scurry like ants.

There’s fear in the wake of heaven’s angry chants.


That Queen’s image, a symbol of colonial rule,

Stands shrouded today in a pall of gloom.

What started as Britain’s industrial greed

Has kept us trapped in the web of unending needs.

Until our fuming chimneys show any respite,

There will be no morning to end this night.


© Vidya Venkat (2020)

[I wrote this poem the night Cyclone Amphan hit Bengal leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.]

Published by Vidya Venkat

Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at SOAS, London. Formerly, journalist at The Hindu, Chennai.

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